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Government Boosts COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Government Boosts COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Last week the government have announced a major expansion of coronavirus testing to help those who need it the most. Anyone in England with symptoms of coronavirus who has to leave home to go to work, and all symptomatic members of the public aged 65 and over, will now be eligible to be tested.

This will mean people who can’t work from home or aged 65 can be certain about whether or not they have coronavirus and need to continue isolating. Members of their households with symptoms will also be eligible for testing. Anyone eligible can book a test using an online portal.

The government also announced that NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents will be entitled to receive a test regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Working with Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, a new government pilot scheme will send packages of ‘satellite’ test kits directly to care homes across England to enable testing of residents.

Last Friday the government announced that they had reached their target of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April. Although there’s still some work to be done in order to maintain this figure, testing has dramatically increased from 25,000 per day a little over a week ago. Along with a major virus and antibody test study, testing for coronavirus helps scientists understand its current spread and plan how to manage the pandemic.

The government’s announcement follows the announcement last week that all essential workers with symptoms can now book a coronavirus test, or order a home testing kit, using the new online portal. There are now more than 40 drive-through testing sites across the country, and, by the end of the week, 25,000 home testing kits will be available for ordering every day.

A network of mobile testing units is also travelling the country to reach care homes, police stations, prisons and other sites where there is demand. The network is expected to reach over 70 units by the weekend. Mobile facilities can be set up in under 20 minutes, allowing the testing of hundreds of people each day. Specially trained Armed Forces personnel will collect swabs that are sent to the lighthouse labs for processing within 48 hours. It’s hoped that the number of mobile test units will expand to 96 by the start of May.

A further home-testing study was announced on 29th April to track levels of infection within the community with a view to developing self-administered tests for antibodies. Short of a vaccine, testing for antibodies is the only way out of lockdown. However, so far, the antibody tests that have gone through the validation process have not proven accurate enough to be rolled out for public use. This ambitious programme aims to establish a viable testing programme on which the government can rely.

Could you help in the fight against coronavirus? If you are returning to work on a temporary contract, Contracting Scout can assist with the administration of your billing and invoicing requirements to ensure you are set up quickly and paid promptly. To talk to a member of our team, call:  0203 603 1878