Nearly 50,000 businesses sign up for rapid Covid testing, Hancock says

13 March 2021, 07:20 | Updated: 14 March 2021, 06:51

More than 48,000 firms have signed up to offer rapid Covid testing for their staff
More than 48,000 firms have signed up to offer rapid Covid testing for their staff. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

More than 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer their employees access to rapid coronavirus testing, Matt Hancock has announced.

The health secretary said the enthusiastic take-up of rapid Covid-19 testing is a "huge step forward" in getting businesses "back on their feet" and keeping people safe.

Regular, rapid testing is considered vital for preventing coronavirus outbreaks in the workplace and tests are now available to all firms.

The kits can give a result within 30 minutes and analysis by NHS Test and Trace has previously suggested that they have a specificity of at least 99.9 per cent.

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Mr 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 one in three 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.

"I strongly encourage all businesses to register their interest before the 31 March deadline."