Almost 50,000 businesses register for workplace COVID testing

The UK’s workplace testing programme has reached 48,000 businesses.

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing. Rapid testing for people without symptoms detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.

Firms are being encouraged to register for the free, regular and rapid lateral flow tests by 31st March, even if they are not yet open or are not able to start using the tests straight away.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have built a huge asymptomatic testing system from scratch, which is an essential part of our plan to reopen cautiously.

“Rapid testing has been rolled out at a vast scale across a range of sectors, and it is fantastic that now over 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer rapid testing to employees. This is a huge step forward in getting businesses back on their feet and helping to keep people safe.

“With around 1 in 3 people with the virus not having symptoms, regular testing is essential to bearing down on the virus and identify new variants of concern as we work towards restoring normal life.”

Siemens Mobility, which employs 36,800 people worldwide and 4,500 in the UK, is among the companies rolling out workplace testing.

CEO William Wilson said: “Our people have played vital roles throughout the pandemic maintaining critical national infrastructure and helping essential services to operate safely and efficiently. As we move towards the relaxation of lockdown rules, introducing regular COVID-19 testing, with almost instant results, plays a vital role in helping to track and contain virus spread, as well as provide our employees with peace of mind.”

Businesses have until the end of March to register for the scheme, which will be free until the end of June.

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