A New Covid Test Centre Has Been Launched In Parliament In A Bid To Halt Further Outbreaks
MPs and staff working in Parliament will be offered asymptomatic testing under a new plan established to help curb the spread of the virus in Westminster.
Announcing the new measures, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the rapid tests would offer results in around 45 minutes and was a "great step forward" in protecting those working within parliament.
"While we have asked Members to participate in business virtually, and House staff on the estate to be kept to a bare minimum, we have to accept that some people need to be here," he said.
"So, I am really pleased we are now in a position to enable every MP and staff member the chance of a test to help stop this awful virus in its tracks."
The new on-site testing will take place in one of the large committee rooms which are usually reserved for meetings of parliamentary groups
But Mr Hoyle said "almost overnight" the room had been turned into a "sanitised testing centre with clinical assistants working every week day to keep safe those who have to be here".
He added: "As ever, I am grateful to the House authorities for their hard work and for moving so swiftly to introduce this new way of testing."
The decision comes after several outbreaks were linked with the parliamentary estate, including among MPs and members of the police force who protect the building.
MPs and their staff have been ordered to only attend parliament in-person if they have urgent business, with many MPs choosing to participate in debates remotely.
Commons officials said the tests would be available to anyone working within the parliamentary estate who did not have symptoms of the illness or had not tested recently positive for the virus.