The Government has now announced that all essential and key workers in England will now be tested if they have Covid-19 symptoms.
This is possible as capacity has significantly increased as the Government is completing the biggest network of diagnostic labs in just five weeks, with three new Lighthouse Labs in Milton Keynes, Glasgow and Cheshire now staffed with medical experts, the army and volunteers. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has also launched the five-point strategy to increase testing – with the aim of 100 000 tests a day by the end of April. This includes NHS swab testing, commercial swab testing, commercial antibody tests, surveillance testing and the Diagnostics National Effort.
Essential workers can now register to get themselves, and the people that they live with, to be tested if they are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough. All key workers from public servants, to supermarket staff, NHS staff to delivery drives will be able to book a test through a new online portal.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:
“We have already prioritised testing for patients and health and social care workers and other key workers today I can go further.
“We are making it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test. From today, employers of essential workers will be able to go on GOV.UK to get a test for any of their staff who need a test. And from tomorrow, any essential workers who need a test will be able to book an appointment on GOV.UK themselves directly.
“This all applies for people in essential workers’ households who need a test too. It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”
There are 30 drive-through testing sites across the country, or you can receive a home testing kit. Locally, a testing centre in Portsmouth has opened where key workers from the Gosport Constituency will be able to access their test. Tipner Lorry Park in Portsmouth will be open 10-1pm and 2-5pm 7 days a week for those presenting symptoms and be able to test up to 400 people a day.
Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48 hours, and within 72 hours of collection of the home delivery tests.
Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, commented:
“I’m really pleased to see the expansion of testing to all key and essential workers. They are providing vital services to our community to make sure that people are cared for, have access to supplies and safe.
We have a duty to ensure that they themselves can stay healthy and stop the spread of coronavirus.
“The new testing centre in Portsmouth is a key part of this strategy for local residents.”
On top of this, work will continue to ensure testing capacity will be expanded, including developing new mobile testing sites which will be able to reach care homes, police stations and prisons. These can be set up in 20 minutes and those tested will receive results within 48 hours.