Help stop the spread of Covid with free tests
As more people return to work, the government is asking companies to help stop a resurgence of Covid-19 by asking employees to take the free 'lateral flow' Covid tests that are available and to isolate anyone who tests positive so they don't spread it.
Companies with 50 or more employees are being offered the chance to register to receive free testing kits to use to test employees regularly. Smaller companies are being encouraged to use 'lateral flow' testing centres that have been set up by local authorities. They are also free and you get a result 30 minutes.
In an open letter to industry, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Kwasi Kwarteng, asks firms to help stop Covid from flaring up again after children have returned to school and more people have returned to work in accordance with the 'Roadmap' announced on 22 February.
These tests are for people who have no symptoms, because a third of all people who have been found to have the virus do not show symptoms, even though they can still spread the disease to others who will suffer its effects.
Kwasi Kwarteng says: "It is vital we ramp up the testing of those without symptoms in order to break the chains of transmission."
Many companies will not be large enough to qualify for the free test kits on offer, but those that do have until 31 March to register for them - because you have to register in order to get them. To register go to: www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests. The kits will then be made available free until the the end of June.
The Department for Health & Social Care will offer advice and guidance to support the setting up of testing facilities, as well as providing a list of accredited private providers who can organise testing for companies that do not want to do it themselves.
Kwasi Kwarteng says: "Workplaces that have introduced regular testing find they can plan with more certainty and spot individual cases before whole teams fall ill.
"I am strongly encouraging employers and workers to take this offer up to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. We want to be able to re-open the economy and recover our way of life as soon as it is safe to do so, and large-scale workplace testing will complement our work in getting the British people vaccinated."