The government has extended its Covid-19 testing programme to include farmers and other agricultural workers.
The move, designed to speed the return of people in quarantine back to work, has been welcomed by farming unions and groups.
There has been a call for increased testing within the agricultural industry since the start of coronavirus restrictions.
It comes as the government faces mounting pressure to ramp up its testing programme after setting a target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.
It has now announced that the tests are being extended to include ‘additional frontline workers who are symptomatic, and members of their household who are symptomatic’.
The full list of eligible people includes ‘critical personnel in food and drink production’, including farmers and allied industry workers.
The government said the tests would allow frontline workers to return to work if they, or members of their household, test negative for coronavirus.
The National Pig Association welcomed the move: “This is something we have pushed really hard for and it is very good to see these test have been made available to farmers and the wider food supply chain,” chief executive Zoe Davies said.
“If things go according to plan, this will hopefully help ease some of the concerns about staffing that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.”
The government has released guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolating.