Farmers and food industry workers now eligible for coronavirus testing

Farmers and other food chain workers in England with COVID-19-symptoms will now be eligible for testing.

This is part of a much wider extension of the testing programme designed to speed up the return of people in quarantine back to work.

The Government, which is under increasing pressure to ramp up COVID-19 testing after setting a target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, announced that the tests are being extended to include ‘additional frontline workers who are symptomatic, and members of their household who are symptomatic’.

The full list of eligible people includes ‘critical personnel in food and drink production’, including farmers and allied industry workers.

The Government said the tests would allow frontline workers to return to work if they, or members of their household, test negative for coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said employers of essential workers and their families will be able to go on the government’s website to get a coronavirus test for any of their staff who wants one by booking an appointment on themselves directly.

How to get a test

  • Referral for testing will be available through a digital portal, which will allow employers to refer their essential workers who are self-isolating
  • From 24 April, eligible individuals will also be able to use the portal to self-refer for a test. It will be possible to book a test directly at
    Essential workers will be able to select either a regional test site drive-through appointment or a home test kit
  • The Government is establishing a network of 48 drive-through regional testing sites
  • Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available. There is good availability of regional test sites, so workers are advised to select this option
  • The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves or by someone else
  • Any employer that has any queries should contact the Department of Health and Social Care at

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