Rapid asymptomatic Covid tests will soon be introduced for all essential workers in Reading, with two or three community sites to be set up and big businesses to set up their own.

Lateral flow testing – also known as the antigen test – is currently taking place in universities, for returning students, and within the NHS and social care sector for staff.

The quick 20–30-minute test for those without symptoms is also beginning to be rolled out in Reading schools, with staff getting two tests per week and secondary school students returning from school holidays to get two tests.

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For primary schools, only the teachers will be tested.

The council has supported Blessed Hugh Farringdon School in getting their test site up and running and other secondary schools – which are all academies or free schools – will soon set up their own.

PICTURED: Blessed Hugh Faringdon School

PICTURED: Blessed Hugh Faringdon School

A wider community testing program will be launched later on, but firstly key worker testing will be set up across the town, for nursery staff, police, essential shop workers and more.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) public health consultant David Munday said it currently “does not make a lot of sense” to introduce wider community testing as “people should generally be at home anyway”.

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Businesses with more than 250 people are being encouraged to set up their own testing sites, with Mr Munday giving Reading Buses as an example, with the council to run its own sites for smaller organisations.

There will be around two-to-three community sites set up but it has not yet been finalised where they will be.

The antigen test is seen as a good way to find asymptomatic cases that would otherwise go under the radar but is not seen as reliable enough to be used to avoid self-isolation.