Government offers asymptomatic tests for open sectors
By Rachel Lawler
The government has announced plans to make asymptomatic tests available to workers employed in sectors that remain open during lockdown.
All business with more than 50 employees will be now able to join the scheme and offer rapid testing, this is an extension to the offer which was previously only available to those with more than 250 employees.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said that he “strongly urged” businesses and employees to take up the offer to “help stop this virus spreading”.
Hancock said: "When you consider that around one in three people have the virus without symptoms and could potentially infect people without even knowing it, it becomes clear why focusing testing on those without symptoms is so essential."
The government has also previously offered lateral flow tests to colleges, schools and local authority-run nurseries but not private or voluntary run early years providers.
Support for providers
Neil Leitch chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "If the government can roll out lateral flow testing not only to colleges, schools and local authority nursery schools, but also now a significant proportion of private businesses, there is absolutely no excuse for not ensuring that the same support is made available to all private and voluntary nurseries, pre-schools across the country.
"The health secretary has rightly said that “focusing testing on those without symptoms is ... essential” to reducing the spread of Covid. It beggars belief, therefore, that we are now over a month into national lockdown and the government has still failed to ensure that early years and childcare settings, where social distancing is simply not possible, have direct access to vital tests.
"Early years providers have been asked to continue providing care and education at a time when the majority of population has been instructed to stay at home. The very least the government can do is ensure that they are given the practical support to do so as safely as possible."