Lateral flow tests for COVID-19 will be offered to people attending hearings at Southwark Crown Court as part of a four-week trial of coronavirus testing in a court environment.
For the next four weeks the test will be offered to all staff, judiciary, jurors, contractors, legal professionals, and professional court users who visit the site. It will not be a public testing facility.
Between 24 November and 11 January seven cases of COVID-19 were reported among users of Southwark Crown Court, including two members of the judiciary, according to a recent written ministerial answer in the House of Commons.
"Justice is essential to all those who need it – from vulnerable victims to families in crisis, witnesses and defendants as well as wider society – and courts and tribunals have been operating throughout the pandemic," said Kevin Sadler, Acting CEO of HMCTS.
"This second rapid test pilot is in addition to a suite of safety measures already in place to keep court visitors safe."
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: "We've already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.
"Lateral flow tests hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see rapid testing available to people across the country.
"I'm delighted that HM Courts & Tribunals Service are working with us to use the latest technology in Southwark Crown Court, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further."
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