Workers able to get rapid coronavirus tests in 70% of councils, Government says

Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

Rapid coronavirus tests are being offered to workers even if they do not have symptoms in more than 70% of local authorities in England, the Government has said.

Official figures on Wednesday showed that 232 councils have rolled out a community testing programme, with those unable to work from home currently being targeted.

So far, 2.2 million lateral flow tests have been carried out under the scheme to detect 44,000 positive cases, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

With around one in three people with Covid-19 not exhibiting symptoms, the scheme is a key way to increase the proportion of those with the virus undergoing isolation.

In total, nine out of 10 local authorities in England have developed plans to roll out community testing, with those who have not already rolled it out expected to do so “soon”, according to the DHSC.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Since the community testing programme was launched in December, local authorities have undertaken incredibly innovative work to rapidly get programmes up and running in local areas, using their local expertise.”

In January, 156 local authorities had set up community testing programmes.

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