Government expands daily contact testing for critical workers

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The government has expanded daily contact testing with 1,200 new sites across frontline sectors, helping to avoid disruption to crucial services.

Workplace daily contact testing sites will be expanded to a total of 2,000 sites across the country, with prisons, waste collection and defence among the critical sectors prioritised for the newest sites.

It means that 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, can continue working if they test negative each day using rapid lateral flow tests.

The new sites came on stream on Monday. It comes as supermarket workers, border control staff and paramedics have been told that they do not have to isolate if they are pinged by the NHS app or identified as a close contact, providing they have been double vaccinated. They will also need a negative PCR test and must do daily lateral flow tests for 10 days. There are 16 sectors named in the guidance.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Whether it’s prison guards reporting for duty, waste collectors keeping our streets clean or workers in our energy sector keeping the lights on, critical workers have been there for us at every stage of this global pandemic.

“As we learn to live with the virus, we will keep doing everything in our power to break chains of transmission and stop this virus in its tracks. Daily contact testing will play a vital role in this, helping minimise the potential for disruption caused by rising cases, while keeping staff protected.”

Food production and supply workers will not have to self-isolate, but they will have to take daily Covid tests. Photograph: iStock

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.

From 16 August, under current plans, anyone who has been double jabbed or who is under the age of 18 will not have to isolate. Instead, they will be advised to take a test. If they test positive for Covid, then they must self-isolate.

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace, government guidance here


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