The full list of key workers entitled to a coronavirus test as Covid-19 fight continues
The full list of key workers entitled to a test for coronavirus has been issued by the Government.
Access to testing for those with symptoms of COVID-19 is to be extended across England to include additional frontline workers and symptomatic members of their household, meaning staff working in a greater number of professions will now be able to access coronavirus testing
Testing will allow those currently unable to return to work because they or a member of their family or household have symptoms of coronavirus to know whether they do have the virus.
Frontline workers now eligible for testing will include the police, the fire service, frontline benefits workers and those working with vulnerable children and adults among others.
Where there is extra testing capacity, testing will be expanded to other groups of workers that need it, including those delivering critical medical, energy, utility, transport and food supplies.
This follows the launch of the government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new Lighthouse Labs and drive-through testing sites across the UK, with over 20 testing sites opened to date.
This network is providing thousands more polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests, which are used to identify if someone currently has the virus, for frontline workers. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible to support essential services.
The government is already working with local resilience forums to get additional critical workers in their areas tested, including police officers, fire and rescue service employees, and those running the justice system.
The full list of eligible workers now includes:
All NHS and social care staff, including hospital, community and primary care, and staff providing support to frontline NHS services (for example accommodation, catering) and voluntary workers
Police, fire and rescue services
Local authority staff, including those working with vulnerable children, adults and victims of domestic abuse, and those working with the homeless and rough sleepers
Defence, prisons and probation staff, and judiciary
Frontline benefits workers
Anyone who is eligible – has symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or new continuous cough) – and would like to be tested should speak to their employer.
The relevant employers will be provided with information on how to make an appointment with the programme either from their local resilience forum or direct from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Government departments, national agencies and local resilience forums can refer other critical workers in their area for testing, but this will be determined by need and testing capacity available.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one.
“We have built up capacity in the system with new testing and diagnostic facilities backed by Britain’s world-class scientists and industry partners. This means we are now able to give even more workers who support and protect us the ability to know if they have coronavirus if they have been demonstrating symptoms.
“Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus and we will continue to prioritise patients, NHS and social care workers but we now have the ability to provide more people with the certainty they need to get back to the front line when it is safe to do so.”
The government is also developing mobile testing units and a home test kit that can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves, and their family, without leaving the house.
In time a new website will enable eligible individuals to book a test directly.