From Friday, employers will be able to register and refer key worker staff self-isolating because they or someone in their household has possible symptoms of coronavirus. 

Staff will be able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing potential symptoms. They will then be referred to one of more than 30 drive-through centres, with plans for around 50 mobile units with home tests, including swabs and instructions, offered to some.

On Friday, health officials said they now had capacity to offer 51,000 tests a day and would be able to offer 100,000 such tests by the end of the month. However, it remains unclear whether this capacity will be used, with fewer than 24,000 tests carried out on Thursday.

Hospital cleaners, public servants, the emergency services, supermarket staff, delivery drivers and other critical infrastructure staff will be among the first to be given access to the scheme.

Mr Hancock said: “We are making it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test. This all applies for people in essential workers’ households who need a test too. It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”

Those using the new portal can enter their details and will receive a text or email the same day inviting them to book an appointment at one of more the drive-through testing sites or to receive a home testing kit. 

Results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48 hours, and within 72 hours of the collection of home delivery tests.

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