A Partnership between John Mason International and Department of Health and Social Care will see the company launch a rapid testing programme in both of it’s Liverpool and London locations, as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of testing.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission. With its targeted approach, this programme aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas.
From next week, John Mason International will receive Lateral flow devices, provided by NHS Test and Trace, as part of a programme to enable testing in private industries. From the start of the pandemic, the Government has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight coronavirus.
Use of multiple testing technologies could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. Using rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will help the government to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission. Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.
Utilising new technologies, such as lateral flow tests, will be key to the government’s plans to rollout rapid testing – which means testing large numbers of people in a short period of time, with test results made available quickly, even on the spot. Rapid testing will give people in environments such as hospitals, schools, universities and workplaces rapid reassurance that they are not infectious, or allow them to isolate more quickly if they are.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster. Rapid testing technologies hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see testing available to people across the country.
“I’m delighted that John Mason International are working with us to use the latest technology in Liverpool and London, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 with over 32 million tests processed so far.
“The work of John Mason International in Liverpool and London will be essential in helping us explore the benefits of rapid testing technologies. This programme is one of many which will lay the foundations for the next phase of NHS Test and Trace – rapid testing – which will allow us to test even more people, even more quickly.”
Noel Briscoe, Managing Director at John Mason International commented: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have continued to follow advice from the Government and the British Association of Removals (BAR) to ensure maximum safety of both our customers and employees. This included introducing new working practices, additional risk assessments, additional hygiene procedures, enforcing social distancing where possible and personal protection equipment for crews.
I am delighted to be able to take this one step further and partner with NHS Test and Trace to provide workplace testing providing reassurance to our employees and customers. This not only means we can identify and better manage risk today, but also can play our part in supporting the Government to get everyone’s life back to normal as quickly as possible”.
For media enquiries about the mass testing programme please contact the DHSC media centre.
NOTES TO EDITORS
– See latest testing statistics here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
– Lateral flow devices (LFDs) – or rapid tests – used by the UK government go through a rigorous evaluation by the country’s leading scientists.
– LFDs detect cases with high levels of virus, making them effective in finding individuals who are the most likely to transmit the disease, including those not showing symptoms.
– Extensive clinical evaluation from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show lateral flow tests are specific and sensitive enough to be deployed for mass testing, including for asymptomatic people. The Oxford University and Public Health evaluation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/oxford-university-and-phe-confirm-high-sensitivity-of-lateral-flow-tests