Workplace COVID-19 testing now available to all English businesses
Workplace rapid coronavirus testing has now become available to all English businesses, it has been confirmed. Companies of all sizes, including those with 50 employees or fewer, are now eligible to receive the tests which provide a result within 30 minutes, allowing workers to quickly self-isolate and protect colleagues. DHSC has stated that the tests will be free-of-charge to businesses until the 30th June this year, and companies are encouraged to register for the programme before 31st March.
It is hoped that such a widespread roll-out of lateral flow devices will minimise outbreaks of the virus at workplaces and that chains of transmission are broken among those who cannot work from home. Despite the news, those who can work from home remain encouraged to do so by Government guidelines. There has been a positive response to the workplace rapid testing scheme since it began. So far, more than 3,500 businesses have signed up to offer workplace testing programmes, the DHSC said, and more than 14,000 have registered their interest in offering rapid testing.
Initially, only companies of 250 or more employees were allowed the free rapid tests. Last month, this number was drastically reduce to 50 employees or more, and now all businesses, of any size, can register for tests. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock commented: "These rapid tests will allow positive cases of Covid-19 to be caught quickly, which is crucial in helping businesses protect their workplaces and employees as we cautiously lift restrictions." An online portal has been launched for businesses with information on the testing roll-out. Registered companies will receive the necessary information on planning and delivery workplace testing, along with promotional materials.