Rapid COVID testing is now available anyone in Manchester who can’t work from home and whose employers or organisations don’t have an asymptomatic testing system in place.
The move is preventative and is to test people who live or work in the city, who do not have symptoms – but could still spread the virus without knowing they have it.
The testing will be on a twice-weekly basis, from six sites across the city.
Appointments, which need to be booked in advance, are available on weekdays and Saturdays at a range of different times to suit work and shift patterns.
The testing uses lateral flow devices (LFD) which involve a swab of the nose and throat – and can give a result within half an hour because it does not require sending off to a lab for analysis.
If the person is negative they can continue to work, but must still follow all the other safety measures including social distancing, hand-washing and face coverings.
But if the result is positive, they must self-isolate immediately and the result will also feed into the NHS Test and Trace system.
It’s important to note that people still need to be tested within this scheme, even if they have had their COVID vaccination.
The scheme is also open to smaller businesses, freelancers and sole traders in the city.
Larger businesses (50-200 people plus) are encouraged to sign up for the national government scheme by 31st March, which allows them to do their own testing on their premises.
People are also reminded that the current government message is for people to work from home still wherever possible.
“We are committed to making our city as safe as possible and that includes every measure to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Councillor Bev Craig.
“We estimate that around 1 in 3 people can have the virus without knowing it, which makes it imperative that we are vigilant in helping to protect those who cannot work from home, and also the people they work with.”
Test sites are across the city at Moss Side Leisure Centre, Debdale Outdoor Centre, FC United of Manchester, Hall Lane Resource Centre, Heathfield Resource Centre and the Rates Hall in Manchester Town Hall. Appointments need to booked in advance by ringing 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020. The booking number is open Monday-Friday.