Construction is among the industries to be targeted with regular rapid testing for workers without coronavirus symptoms.
The government is expanding its community testing scheme across the whole country. And local authorities “will be encouraged to target testing to people who cannot work from home during lockdown.”
Construction workers will be offered rapid lateral flow tests which return results within 30 minutes.
Employers are also being encouraged to participate in large-scale testing programmes. Around one in three people have covid-19 without displaying any symptoms.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Rapid, regular testing is led by local authorities who design programmes based on their in-depth knowledge of the local populations, so testing can have the greatest impact.
“We are now expanding this offer to every local authority across the country, and asking testing to be targeted on workers who cannot work from home during this national lockdown, while asking employers to work with us to scale up workforce testing.
“Lateral flow tests have already been hugely successful in finding positive cases quickly – and every positive case found is helping to stop the spread – so I encourage employers and workers to take this offer up. We must all do all we can to stop the spread of Covid, right now.”
Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director, said: “Rapid mass testing is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting on top of the virus. The health and safety of staff is paramount for employers, which is why they will be right behind this initiative.
“This expansion of testing will help more critical workers and those unable to work from home to operate safely, while also catching new cases more swiftly.
“Ramping up asymptomatic testing to all workplaces will require hand-in-glove partnership between health services, local authorities and businesses in each and every community.”