More critical workers will soon be able to take daily tests rather than having to self isolate if they’re identified as having been in close contact with someone who has Covid.
The government has confirmed 1200 extra sites will now be created, with the armed forces, prisons and waste management sectors being prioritised. Around 800 sites are already planned for police, firefighters and food distribution depot staff.
These new centres are being set up after the business world warned of staffing shortages caused by enforced isolations. In the week up to 15 July across England and Wales 618,903 people were ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid App advising people to self-isolate for up to 10-days.
Daily testing for certain ‘critical sectors’ in England was launched on Monday as an alternative to taking time off work. The government has not said how many sites are currently up-and-running but that it expects 500 will be ready by the end of this week.
Tesco is understood to be working through the details of the new scheme, while Morrisons said it was contacting staff who had been pinged to sign up for testing on a voluntary basis, but did say that it was ready to start as soon as possible.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“Daily contact testing must now play a vital role in helping minimise the potential for disruption caused by rising cases, while keeping staff protected”.