To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2021 to Question 167938, on Coronavirus: Screening, what assessment he has made of potential effect on the rate of transmission of covid-19 in early years settings of not making that assessment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2021 to Question 167938, on Coronavirus: Screening, what estimate has been made of the number of additional covid-19 cases which may arise from the decision to not provide testing.
Due to the number of analytical assumptions that would be required, no estimate of the number of additional cases that may arise from not testing in early years settings has been made. Testing alone does not reduce the chains of transmission and we have provided extensive guidance to the early years sector to minimise the risk of transmission.
Serious COVID-19 related illness is extremely rare in young children and the transmission from children to staff and households in those settings is likely to be less frequent. Testing has always been available in early years and nursery settings. Early years staff, as critical workers, have had priority access to polymerase chain reaction testing since April 2020, if they develop symptoms. Regular asymptomatic testing was periodically provided in January and March 2021 for the workforce in all state-maintained, private, voluntary and independent nurseries as well as childminders. Staff who have not been able to access this testing have been able to collect lateral flow device tests through the community testing programme.