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What is the test and trace system?

28 May 2020
Gavin Hooker
COVID-19, People

The Government launches its test and trace service today and has issued related guidance for England. There are equivalent arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What is the test and trace system for England?

The NHS test and trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector. The service will help identify, contain, and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus, and save lives.

This service will also play an important vital role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally. This information will then be used to inform the government’s approach to stop the spread of the virus.

From 28 May, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or by calling 119.

If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

What does this mean for my business?

There is guidance available for businesses and what their part is in relation to the test and trace system, these details can be found here.

It is vital that employers pay their part by:

  • Making their workplaces as safe as possible – we detail things to consider in our blog – An Unusual Spring Clean
  • Encouraging workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and supporting them when in isolation.

Although this may seem disruptive to businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods of lockdown.

The guidance for businesses should be used in conjunction with the Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance which can be found here.

By following the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

This guidance is for England only. There are equivalent arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We are here to support your business, if you have any concerns please call us or email Mark or Andrew.

The content in this blog is correct as at 28/05/2020. See terms and conditions.

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