Last reviewed 2 June 2020

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England.

The service will provide testing for anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19, to find out if they have the virus, get in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had, alert those contacts, where necessary, and notify them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

Workplace guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance#guidance-for-employers.

It explains how employers can play their part in the test and trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives. The guidance should be used in conjunction with Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19), available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Government said that by following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with the virus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions, which could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

Those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test by calling 119 or at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

The workplace guidance is for England only. There are equivalent arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.