People who cannot work from home during lockdown to be tested for Covid-19, government announce

Those who cannot work from home during lockdown are to be targeted for Covid-19 testing, the Government has announced.

Around one in three people have coronavirus without displaying any symptoms.

Now, the Government has announced rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms will be made available across the country from this week and local authorities will be encouraged to target testing at people who are unable to work from home during the national lockdown.

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Whitehall say that the expansion of asymptomatic testing will identify more positive cases of COVID-19 and ensure those infected isolate, protecting those who cannot work from home and vital services..

Community testing is vital in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

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, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

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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.

Targeted, regular community testing using lateral flow tests has already identified over 14,800 positive COVID-19 cases who would not have been identified without targeted asymptomatic testing.

Existing plans for the rapid testing of staff and students in secondary schools and colleges, and staff in primary schools, also remain in place.

Secondary schools have set up testing sites and have started to test staff and pupils who remain in school, such as the children of critical workers, or vulnerable children.

The Government also confirmed that primary schools will start to receive their test kits shortly for the weekly testing of their staff.