The Government has announced that it will help local authorities to ramp up asymptomatic testing across communities in England.
The new scheme will include all 317 local authorities, with 131 already signed up and 107 already testing asymptomatic people for Covid-19.
The idea behind asymptomatic testing is that by discovering more cases, more people are able to isolate and therefore protect those working on the front line. Many of the councils that have started testing such as Essex and Milton Keynes are focusing on those not able to work from home.
NHS Test and Trace are also working with other Government departments to ramp up workplace testing in sectors such as food, manufacturing, energy, and retail sectors, and within the public sector including job centres, transport networks, and the military.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:
“With roughly a third of people who have coronavirus not showing symptoms, targeted asymptomatic testing and subsequent isolation is highly effective in breaking chains of transmission. Rapid, regular testing is led by local authorities who design programmes based on their in-depth knowledge of the local populations, so testing can have the greatest impact.
“We are now expanding this offer to every local authority across the country, and asking testing to be targeted on workers who cannot work from home during this national lockdown, while asking employers to work with us to scale up workforce testing.
“Lateral flow tests have already been hugely successful in finding positive cases quickly – and every positive case found is helping to stop the spread - so I encourage employers and workers to take this offer up. We must all do all we can to stop the spread of COVID, right now.”
According to Government figures, asymptomatic lateral flow tests have already identified 14,800 cases on Covid-19 that otherwise would have gone unnoticed and potentially spread further within the community.