In England, critical workers from certain professions and services will now be able to have daily tests in case they’ve been in contact with someone with covid. The tests will determine if they can go to work if a negative result comes back.
Currently there are 800 sites being set up for this testing, and another 1,200 will be added; about 500 are up and running. The armed forces, police, waste management and supermarket depot staff are amongst the prioritised sectors. When all testing sites are up and operational, they will be split according to sector:
800 for the food industry, transport and Border Force workers, as well as police and fire services.
1,200 for people employed in prisons, waste, defence and veterinary medicine, plus the energy, pharmaceutical, telecoms, chemical, communications, water, space and fish industries.
Frontline NHS workers and care staff have a different system, allowing some to continue working.
‘Pings’ informing staff to isolate for a number of days have caused chaos and confusion, and disrupted services such as transport, leading to reduced services and delays, and food supply chains leading to empty shelves in supermarkets. Daily tests are a welcome alternative to self-isolation.
Changes from 16 August
From 16 August, anyone in England who is fully vaccinated – and unvaccinated under-18s – will be able to take PCR tests – which are sent to a laboratory to be checked – instead of self-isolating, if pinged.