New guidance on coronavirus testing for key workers

Detail view of a mobile phone showing of the UK Government's coronavirus test application website on April 25, 2020 in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The government has issued new guidance for employers to refer their staff for coronavirus testing, following the expansion of testing to all essential workers in England, including convenience store colleagues.

The Employer Referral Portal- User Guide, prepared by the NHS, gives step by step guide of how the portal works, how to fill out the referral spreadsheet, what information you will need about employees and how to track employee testing.

Employers need to email to [email protected] to obtain access to the online portal where they can register details of their staff who are self-isolating.

The referred staff will receive a text message with a code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household members at a regional testing centre.

Employees are also able to self-register through a separate employee portal. However, this portal – which offers home-testing kits and appointments at drive-through testing sites – will be closed once the allotted slots for the day run out.

The Association of Convenience Stores has developed a template letter that retailers can use to communicate with staff over email, post or display in staff rooms about how to self-refer for testing.

The government has increased the number of people eligible for its testing programme last week as part of its efforts to boost testing programme to reach the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

The new campaign will help essential workers in England – including NHS and care staff, teachers, hospital cleaners, public servants, the emergency services, supermarket staff, delivery drivers, and other critical infrastructure staff – to access testing.

(With Agencies)