Taxi and private hire drivers, cleaners, retail assistants and others working in ‘high-contact’ professions, where they come close to a lot of different people every day, are taking part in a government trial to evaluate the effectiveness of asymptomatic testing for coronavirus.
Department of Health chiefs announced the swabbing scheme today, stating that the launch will start tomorrow Friday 10 July. Firms taking part in the trial include taxi firm Addison Lee, BT, services firm Mitie and pharmacy giant Boots.
Each of the four businesses will receive thousands of tests for staff around the country, either home-swabbing kits which will be posted, or mobile testing sites which will be set-up in offices.
The trial has been initiated with the intention of trying to catch the virus early among people who are most likely to get infected, and then to stop them passing it on.
Local authorities in Bradford, Newham, Brent and Oldham - areas with high transmission rates - will also select groups of people they deem to be high-risk for asymptomatic testing and will book tests for people at walk-in sites.
Those who test positive will need to self-isolate and results will be shared with the NHS Test and Trace programme so contacts can be traced.
It comes as a damning investigation claimed officials ‘buffed’ the coronavirus testing system and the numbers were a ‘total mess’ that didn’t add up.