UK businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can now register to order free lateral flow COVID tests for their employees.
Businesses have until 31 March to register for the government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June.
The government says that around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing.
The lateral flow COVID tests can detect cases in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.
Additionally, a recent analysis of community testing data found lateral flow tests to have a specificity of at least 99.9%. This means there is fewer than one false positive in every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out.
“Regular testing could be the difference between a workplace being able to stay open and operational, or needing to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will form a crucial part of the government’s plan to gradually and safely ease restrictions as we get back to a more normal life,” the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement.
So far over 3,500 businesses are signed up to offer workplace testing programmes, and over 14,000 have registered their interest in offering rapid testing, with many already rolling tests out.
Dr Susan Hopkins, COVID-19 Strategic Response Director to PHE and Chief Medical Adviser to NHS Test and Trace said around one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but may still be infectious.
“Rapid testing can help detect asymptomatic cases quickly, preventing the virus from entering workplaces and stopping outbreaks before they occur. Combined with other protective measures, rapid testing is a vital tool to help us lower infection rates and ensure that they stay low. If you’re offered a test, please do take it.”
Confederation of British Industry Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell said enabling more companies to engage with workplace testing was good news.
“Businesses appreciate that regular mass testing can play a vital role in a safe re-opening, helping to build staff confidence and adding a layer of resilience to help firms stay open.”
An online portal has also been launched for businesses to find out more about offering rapid workplace testing. Businesses will be provided with all the information they need to plan and deliver their testing programme, along with promotional materials.
Learn more about myosh
Book a 15 minute online demo today