A total of 200 more Covid testing sites are to be set up across England to further ensure critical workers can avoid isolation, the Government has confirmed tonight.
Frontline emergency services and some transport workers, including police officers, firefighters and Border Force personnel, are among those set to benefit from the upgraded targeted daily testing system.
While sites will also be set up to support the most critical parts of the transport and freight systems, such as the rail infrastructure, ports and airports, and haulage firms.
Eligible workers in these sectors who have received alerts from the NHS Covid 19 app or have been called by NHS Test and Trace and told to isolate can continue working if they test negative.
Daily testing will enable eligible workers who have received alerts from the NHS Covid 19 app or have been called by NHS Test and Trace and told they are a contact and to isolate will be able to continue working if they test negative.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Throughout the pandemic, our frontline emergency services have continued to keep us all safe, overcoming enormous challenges to do so, while workers across the transport network have kept the country moving.
“As we learn to live with the virus, we must do everything we can to break chains of transmission and stop the spread of the virus.
"Daily contact testing of workers in these critical sectors will help to minimise any disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring staff are not put at risk.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also praised the Daily Contact Testing scheme, as well as the efforts of country's critical workforces.
Official statistics suggest people who have been identified as contacts are at least five times more likely to be infected than others, with the Government emphasising the importance of self-isolation to help suppress the virus.
The announcement comes hours after Downing Street released further details about which fully-vaccinated workers may be exempt from Covid isolation.
On Thursday, Downing Street published its list of 16 sectors which could continue working after completing daily tests rather than quarantining after coming into contact with a positive case.
These included energy, civil nuclear, digital infrastructure, food production and supply, waste, water, veterinary medicines, essential chemicals, essential transport, medicines, medical devices, clinical consumable supplies, emergency services, border control, essential defence outputs, and local government.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) then expanded on this further, outlining the positions the exemptions would apply to.
It said the exemptions would be "subject to all other mitigation options being exhausted".