FRONTLINE council workers who cannot work from home will be able to receive a Covid test every week.

Targeted asymptomatic testing has been introduced for frontline council workers who cannot work from home and are working to keep essential services running.

Asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices has already been rolled out nationally to NHS front line staff, care home staff and residents, domiciliary care workers, schools and some commercial organisations.

In the first phase of the Dorset rapid testing programme, BCP Council and Dorset Council introduced weekly lateral flow device (LFD) testing for some critical workers who come into face-to-face contact with the most vulnerable.

LDF testing is currently available for eligible groups from a mobile unit at the Civic Centre in Poole for BCP Council staff and at Weymouth Park and Ride for Dorset Council staff.

From Monday February 1, BCP Council will be opening two more testing sites at Kinson Community Centre in Bournemouth and the Civic Offices in Christchurch to make the tests more accessible to colleagues.

Councillor Nicola Greene, portfolio holder for Covid-19, said: “We are very pleased to be offering asymptomatic testing to key frontline staff who cannot work from home, to help us keep essential BCP Council services going during the pandemic.

“One in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms so this testing will allow us to identify people who have Covid-19 without realising and ensure they self-isolate, whilst allowing others to keep working safely. It is an extra step in protecting our frontline staff and the people they support in our community.”

Rachel Partridge, assistant director of public health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: “While most of our staff at BCP and Dorset Councils continue to deliver council services from home, we have a number of staff who can’t do their jobs from home and need to be out seeing people in person.

“By doing weekly lateral flow device testing, we will be able to test those colleagues to make the interactions they have safer and so they can continue carrying out vital front-line services such as social care and passenger transport while keeping the rest of our communities safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19.”