NHS launches Test and Trace + workplace guidance

Following today's official launch of the NHS Test and Trace programme, people in England testing positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked to share information about their recent interactions. This may include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres of for over 15 minutes. Those identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms.

The government's guidelines include that if those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period. Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they too must self-isolate for 14 days.

The risk must also be incorporated into workplace risk assessments, and employers that have not yet carried out a new COVID-19 risk assessment must now do so. These responsibilities extend to the protection of workers, contractors, volunteers, customers, suppliers and other visitors. Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive will assist with that: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/working-safely-during-coronavirus-outbreak.htm

Working from home, for those that can, continues to be the first and best option, according to official guidance, with social distancing advice dependent on their individual business circumstances, including their working environment, the size of the site and the number of workers. The guidance will support employers to make an informed decision. In depth, sector-specific guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

In the event that a multiple outbreak occurs in the workplace, an outbreak control team from either the local authority or Public Health England may be assigned to help the employer manage the outbreak. Local authorities are understood to be coordinating these efforts.

Speaking to CIR in our latest podcast, Elvir Kolak, European CEO of restoration company, BELFOR, said: “You can avoid contracting the virus and limit the risk of an infection by regular precautionary disinfection."

To listen to the podcast, click here.

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