Government extends daily contact testing to critical sector workers
Workers in critical sectors are to be offered daily contact testing services, in order to lessen the potential impact of disruption to employee work. Police officers, emergency services staff and transport workers are among those who will be able to undergo testing. This means they will be able to continue to deploy essential services to the UK without the need to enter into a period of self-isolation.
Clinical trial results have prompted the move to expand the contact testing service to these groups. An initial 200 extra testing sites have also been announced by the Government to support the broadened testing service offering. Fire service staff and border protection agents will also be included in the list of essential sectors subject to the scheme. Testing sites will be set up to support the work of companies involved in services that include rail infrastructure, ports and airports, and haulage firms. This will ensure that supply chains are not compromised by staff isolation requirements, and that deliveries of key products such as medical supplies, food and air freight can avoid disruption.
Daily testing will enable eligible workers who have received alerts from the NHS Covid 19 app or have been called by NHS Test and Trace and told they are a contact and to isolate will be able to continue working if they test negative. “To make sure they can continue to do their vital work safely, I’m pleased we’ll be rolling out testing sites to key transport locations – enabling staff to continue working with confidence”, said the Transport Secretary Mr Grant Shapps.
People who have been identified as contacts are at least five times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than other members of the public, the Government has warned. It is continuing to press the message of the public taking up vaccines when offered, to reduce coronavirus transmission, hospitalisation and mortality rates.