What are the new Covid testing measures for essential workers?

·2-min read
Negative lateral flow test (Martin Keene/PA) (PA Wire)
Negative lateral flow test (Martin Keene/PA) (PA Wire)

The government has introduced new Covid testing measures to tackle the national rise of the Omicron variant and its impact on critical infrastructure and businesses.

Changes will target key industry workers, likely to not include supermarket and public transport workers.

Here’s what you need to know – and which new rules will affect you:

What new measures were introduced?

Daily lateral flow tests will be required from Monday 10 January for some essential workers in key industries who cannot work from home and are at risk of infecting each other.

Staff will be expected to test every day for five days a week.

Organisations will be contacted directly this week by the government with the logistics of the scheme.

The scheme will not cover public bodies such as adult care homes and schools, that are covered by the UK Health Security Agency.

Who should be swabbing daily?

Around 100,000 identified critical workers will be sent daily lateral flow test kits.

Those confirmed sectors include Air Traffic Control, Border Force, Nuclear power services and food supply chains, but a complete list of included industries has yet to be released.

Why were the new measures announced?

Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced the new scheme to tackle the increasing number of Omicron cases in industries that keep the country running.

Its aim is to ensure infections are caught as early as possible to minimise Covid spread among colleagues, which has been causing major staff shortages.

Will any further new rules be introduced?

Plan B rules remain in place for England including mandatory face coverings in most indoor spaces, the continued booster rollout and many suggested to work from home.

Currently there are no further changes with a review planned for January 26.

What if I’m not identified by the scheme but I can’t work from home?

Workers not identified as part of the new scheme are still able to order free lateral flow test kits from the gov.uk site which can be sent to homes or pharmacies.

The government said around 600,000 packs of 7 tests are being delivered directly to homes - almost 50 per cent more than last week.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting