Last month Stoke-on-Trent Council introduced an incentive to encourage those driving in the borough to be tested for Covid-19 on a regular basis. Drivers who can evidence that they have carried out at least ten lateral flow tests will be eligible for a free licensed vehicle MOT at one of their centres.
Of any profession, taxi and private hire (PH) drivers should be making testing a priority. Those in the passenger transport industry are inherently at risk of the virus as they are exposed to more people from outside their social bubble. Office for National Statistics (ONS) research has consistently shown that the industry has suffered a disproportionate number of deaths when compared with the rest of the UK economy.
Rapid testing is one of the main tools that we have to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Providing results in as little as 30-minutes, rapid lateral flow tests have contributed greatly to the easing of restrictions in the UK. A government case study in Walthamstow highlighted the importance of this testing specifically for taxi drivers; both for their peace of mind and the protection of their passengers. As local taxi service near me and PH drivers cannot work from home, in most cases, they can access free test from their local authorities.
Under the rapid workplace testing scheme, individuals in public-facing roles who cannot otherwise source tests through their employer can request one from their council. There is usually a dedicated webpage with information specific to your locality. This will provide you with the locations of drive-through testing facilities or other locations where you can be tested in person. This scheme is ideal for taxi and PH drivers but also for other self-employed individuals and employees of small businesses. If you’re unsure where your nearest testing centre is, you can use the government postcode checker here.
If you can’t arrange an in-person test, then your other option is to order them online. The UK Government has a dedicated page for offering lateral flow tests for those that cannot source them through their work, school or college. You are limited to ordering one box a day, which contains seven tests. These tests can be used by anyone in your household.
Lateral flow tests should only be used if you do not currently have symptoms of Covid-19. For those experiencing symptoms, the government advises that you request a PCR test and to self-isolate immediately. The key symptoms to look out for are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
Similarly, to the lateral flow tests, PCR tests can be ordered online and a testing kit will be sent directly to your address. This kind of test is also recommended if you have been in contact with someone with Covid-19. If you’re unsure which type of test is most appropriate, the NHS have a guide that can help direct you. Remember, if you do have symptoms you and your household should self-isolate until you are given the all-clear via a PCR test result.