Covid-19: Rapid testing available to all businesses in England
Workplace Covid testing is now available to all businesses in England, the government has announced, including those with fewer than 50 employees.
Businesses of all sizes can register from Saturday to order lateral flow tests for their workers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Rapid Covid-19 testing provides results in less than 30 minutes, helping people to "isolate immediately", DHSC said.
The tests are free until 30 June, and companies can register until 31 March.
The hope is that asymptomatic cases can be detected quickly, thereby preventing workplace outbreaks.
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 businesses with 250 or more employees were eligible to access lateral flow tests. This was reduced to 50 last month.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that regular workplace testing was "a vital part of our route back to normal life".
He said: "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."
But people are still being advised to work from home where they can.
Businesses have welcomed the wider rollout of workplace testing.
Mike Cherry, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said workplace testing would be "fundamental" to bringing the pandemic under control. He added that it is “vital” that small firms are given the support they need “as they focus on staying afloat in extremely changing circumstances.”
Posted on Mar 08, 2021.
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