Healthcare news

Rapid testing a crucial tool in fight against Covid, says Robin Swann

Lateral flow testing works in a similar fashion to a pregnancy test and can detect the presence of Covid-19 within 30 minutes
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Rapid Covid-19 testing for people without symptoms will play a key role in helping tackle the pandemic, Health Minister Robin Swann has said.

The minister was speaking during a visit to the EH Allingham Construction site on the Crumlin Road, Belfast, one of the employer-led assisted testing sites in operation in Northern Ireland.

Mr Swann said: “By participating in rapid testing, employers are protecting their workforces and their families, protecting customers, promoting consumer and supplier confidence, and helping to build economic recovery.

“To date, over 850 private sector businesses in Northern Ireland have already contacted the Department of Health to register an interest in the programme.

“This is a positive step, but I would encourage more businesses to avail of the free lateral flow tests and implement rapid testing in their workplace. We are extremely fortunate in Northern Ireland to be in a position to have access to a steady supply of effective rapid testing kits.”

The site at EHA Group has been established as part of the NI SMART rapid testing expansion programme, and covers 250 staff working on site.

Company director Jordan Allingham said: “As a large employer in the area, we felt it important to lead by example in implementing regular testing for employees. This provides a degree of reassurance to staff who are working closely together daily, and ensures that we are managing the transmission of the virus effectively.”

The NI SMART Testing Programme is rolling out free rapid testing across the region.

So far there have been more than 1,037 expressions of interest from organisations representing almost 129,827 employees.

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