Asymptomatic testing for taxi and private hire drivers in England begins

A new pilot to evaluate the effectiveness of testing for people without symptoms of the coronavirus who work in high-contact professions has begun.

This will include a select group of staff such as taxi drivers, cleaners and retail assistants, to see if there is demand for testing amongst these kinds of workers, and how they are affected by the virus.

This targeted, asymptomatic swab testing will take place as part of a close partnership with Government, local authorities and a number of employers, with tens of thousands of tests offered to selected groups.

Partners involved in the trial include Addison Lee, BT, Mitie and Boots UK, as well as testing of groups identified by local authorities in Bradford, Newham, Brent and Oldham as being more vulnerable to the virus. Each business will receive thousands of tests for staff via home test delivery or a mobile testing unit, while local authorities will use capacity by booking in specific times for asymptomatic testing at their walk-through local test sites.

Those who test positive through targeted asymptomatic testing will need to self-isolate as normal and follow national guidance. Positive results will be shared with NHS Test and Trace, in order to identify recent contacts, advise them to self-isolate and prevent further transmission of the virus.

Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, said: “We are committed to continually improving NHS Test and Trace, to reach more people at risk of passing the virus on as quickly as possible. This week we have seen test turnaround times improve further, with the majority of positive cases reached by contact tracers in under 24 hours. Anyone with symptoms can easily book a test, expect rapid results, and will hear promptly from NHS Test and Trace if they are tested positive.

“I continue to applaud all those who have played their part, got a test after experiencing symptoms, and responded to the service. I urge anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow the advice they receive to protect their families and communities.”

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