Takeaway service Deliveroo has started to use its app and website to tell customers if surge testing is happening in their area, strengthening the decisive action already taken by the government to tackle rising cases of variants of concern across the country.
This new tool means that notifications will be visible to customers using the Deliveroo app in areas where the new COVID-19 variant is known to be spreading fastest. This will include areas where surge testing is being offered by the local authority, including areas where additional support packages are in place, including for testing, tracing and self-isolation.
Messages will be displayed to customers after the checkout stage of placing their order on the app, and they will be advised to visit their local authority’s website to find out more information on where surge testing is being offered in the area. The Deliveroo app banner will also link to the government’s website with more information on how people can get tested.
In addition to surge testing, the government is providing further support packages to stop the spread of the Delta variant which includes tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are using every tool at our disposal to stop the spread of variants of concern and, thanks to Deliveroo, this new partnership will reach even more of the public to help us test as many people as possible and identify variants of concern.
“The government is committed to sending these variants into retreat and through our offer of free, twice-weekly testing combined with the phenomenal progress of our vaccination programme, we are doing everything we can to protect loved ones.”
Will Shu, CEO and founder of Deliveroo, said: “We wanted to do our bit to help NHS Test and Trace when they asked. It’s vital that people have the information they need to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. We’ve used our network to support the NHS throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so however we can.
“We hope this and other measures the government is taking will accelerate the return to normality we all want to see.”
With around 1 in 3 people not showing symptoms of COVID-19, everyone who lives or works in postcodes where surge testing is taking place is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.
Additional surge testing is quickly finding and isolating variants of concern. Enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern. In these instances, contact tracers will look back over an extended period in order to determine the route of transmission.
By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping to identify variant of concern cases and their spread.
People with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone so they can get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to them at home. Those without symptoms should visit Hillingdon Councils website for more information. People should also continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.