COVID-19 Daily Close-Contact Testing Study Using Lateral Flow Rapid Home Testing Kits – New NHS Study To Offer Daily Rapid/Serial Testing To Close Contacts Of Positive COVID-19 Cases:
Under current Government rules, anyone who has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive case must self-isolate at home for a 10-day period, regardless of whether they themselves are showing symptoms of the virus. Those rules remain in place unchanged.
A new study is being led by Public Health England and NHS England ‘Test and Trace’ to help increase understanding of how effective daily home testing could be for people who are close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.
This new study works as follows; People identified as being a close contact* of a person with COVID-19 and who do not have symptoms may be contacted by NHS England Test & Trace by phone asking them to voluntarily take part in the study and if they agree, they will be sent seven days’ worth of lateral flow tests (LFTs), and two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. The participating contacts are required to test themselves each morning for seven days with the simple testing process. Participating people who test negative and develop no symptoms will be exempt from the legal requirement to self-isolate that day and each subsequent day they test negative and can therefore leave their home to carry out essential activities including going to work. In Royal Mail Group Units (Royal Mail, Parcelforce etc.) this could mean that a small number of members may be ‘randomly’ invited to voluntarily participate in the study and continue to attend work whilst others will be required by law to self-isolate, following close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive case.
Government medical and scientific experts have been clear in their advice that this virus isn’t going to disappear. Protecting the Royal Mail Group workforce has been, and remains, the number one priority for Royal Mail Group, the CWU and Unite, throughout this pandemic. This new study could offer a viable alternative to self-isolation for people who are contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, and one that would allow people to carry on going to work and living their lives, while still ensuring that chains of transmission are stopped.
It’s important that everyone continues to follow the ‘Hands – Face – Space – Fresh air’ Government expert guidance, e.g., washing and sanitising hands regularly, wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing, use of ventilation and ensuring high levels of cleaning in the workplace, vehicles and shared equipment.
Everyone is encouraged to get regularly tested, as around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. Testing is free and results are available in around 30 minutes with the rapid LFD test kits. Everyone in Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, Engineering, Fleet, RMP&FS, RMSS, RMCE etc.) can participate in the RMG/CWU agreed workforce testing scheme through which members can collect free, rapid, LFD test kits from their workplace in order to take them home and perform twice-weekly tests in the privacy of their own home. To collect a test kit pack please speak to your line manager or your CWU Rep and if you have any queries post a comment via the Workplace LFD group or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*This applies to those living in England, over 18, not in full-time education and not under the quarantine rules for arriving in England).
More information on this study can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/daily-contact-testing-study
(It has been agreed that both RMG and CWU will be issuing similar communications on this matter – as above).
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer