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Asymptomatic key workers set to be offered Coronavirus testing

Asymptomatic key workers set to be offered Coronavirus testing

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today that Coronavirus testing for people who do not have symptoms will be made available to every local authority in England.

Testing is set to be prioritised for key workers, such as in warehouses and construction sites, who cannot work from home and as a result, are having to leave home during the current lockdown.

Lateral flow tests, which can deliver rapid results from 30 minutes will be central to the roll-out of more asymptomatic Coronavirus testing. The testing of asymptomatic people has been deemed of significant importance, with around 1 in 3 people that have coronavirus not displaying any symptoms.

Announcing the expansion of asymptomatic Coronavirus testing, Mr Hancock said;

"This expansion comes at a critical time. We recently had to introduce difficult but vital restrictions to deal with a highly transmissible new variant of coronavirus.

"As a result, millions of people are working from home, reducing their social contact to slow the spread of the virus.

"But we know that millions of workers, who work in warehouses or construction sites or who keep vital services going, are not able to do this. So we will be asking local authorities to target this testing programme at those who cannot work from home and who have to leave home during lockdown, providing them with another layer of protection and helping us to drive down the spread of the virus."

The Health Secretary also announced that the Government has now signed a contract with SureScreen Diagnostics, a Derby-based firm which will deliver the first British lateral flow tests to be approved by Public Health England. Previously, most lateral flow tests had been shipped in from abroad.

The rollout of more Coronavirus testing comes amid a warning from England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, who has said that the UK is "perhaps facing the most serious (moment) yet" in its battle against Coronavirus. Professor Whitty said on Sunday that the situation in the UK has deteriorated further since Monday when a new national lockdown was announced and urged people to follow Coronavirus restrictions to help save more lives.

As of this weekend, the UK has now reported over 80,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive Coronavirus test since the start of the pandemic.

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