You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Asymptomatic testing to be rolled out

Written by: Emma Lunn
Community testing will be expanded across all local authorities in England to test people without coronavirus symptoms.

Rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of coronavirus will be made available across the country from this week. Local authorities will be encouraged to target testing at people who are unable to work from home during the national lockdown.

The moves comes as the government tightens border controls in an attempt to keep new strains of Covid-19 out of the UK. Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Friday that all international arrivals in England, including UK nationals, will be required to present a negative Covid test taken up to 72 hours before departure.

The expansion of asymptomatic testing will identify more positive cases of Covid-19 and ensure those infected isolate, protecting those who can’t work from home. The government says this programme is crucial given that about one in three people have coronavirus without displaying any symptoms.

So far, 131 local authorities have signed up to community testing, with 107 already having started testing in their communities. Many of these, including Essex and Milton Keynes, are focusing on the testing of critical workers and those who must leave home for essential reasons.

In addition to local authorities, NHS Test and Trace will also work closely with other government departments to scale up workforce testing.

Many are already piloting regular workforce testing, with 15 large employers having taken up this offer already across 64 sites, including organisations operating in the food, manufacturing, energy and retail sectors, and within the public sector including job centres, transport networks, and the military. An estimated 27,000 tests have taken place across the public sector as part of pilots so far.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “With roughly a third of people who have coronavirus not showing symptoms, targeted asymptomatic testing and subsequent isolation is highly effective in breaking chains of transmission. Rapid, regular testing is led by local authorities who design programmes based on their in-depth knowledge of the local populations, so testing can have the greatest impact.

“We are now expanding this offer to every local authority across the country, and asking testing to be targeted on workers who cannot work from home during this national lockdown, while asking employers to work with us to scale up workforce testing.”

The government says lateral flow tests have already been hugely successful in finding positive cases quickly so it is encouraging employers and workers to take this offer up.

Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, said: “Octopus Energy is delighted to be among the first companies to join the pilot to support the government in ramping up mass testing, helping to curb the spread of the virus and paving the way back to a life as normal as possible under the current conditions. We started testing in December and it was so well received by our staff that we’re continuing it this year.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

The savings accounts paying the most interest

It’s time to get your finances in shape, and moving your cash savings to a higher paying deal is a good plac...

Everything you need to know about being furloughed

Few people had heard of ‘furlough’ before March 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic thrust the idea of bein...

The experts’ guide to sorting out your personal finances in 2021

From opting to ‘low spend’ months to imposing your own ‘cooling-off period’, industry experts reveal t...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week