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Test boost for Metro’s Covid response

Midland Metro Limited (MML), the operator of West Midlands Metro, has joined forces with the public health team at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to help make the tram even safer during the ongoing pandemic.

Since the UK’s first COVID-19 cases were reported this time last year, the tram operator has pulled out all the stops to protect its customers and employees, and now it’s going even further, thanks to the offer of rapid testing for all frontline staff.

Anthony Stanley, MML’s Head of Quality, Health and Safety, and the Environment, explained: “Employees such as drivers and conductors are considered key workers, and, thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to maintain an essential service for those who still need to travel during the pandemic.

“Now that lateral flow testing has become more widely available, we’ve struck an agreement with the council which is offering members of the Metro team priority access to test appointments at West Bromwich Town Hall.

“This represents another major step forward in our fight against the virus as one in three people who catch COVID-19 do not show any symptoms and wouldn’t know they have it.”

In the week since the tests became available, more than 100 frontline staff have already taken up the offer and booked a test. Just one person has so far tested positive, and the individual is now self-isolating while awaiting the result of a further PCR antigen test.

“This lone positive result shows that the new system is working,” Anthony said. “Mass testing adds yet another line of defence against the virus and is a welcome addition to the steps we’re already taking to prevent its spread, including enhanced cleaning and measures to encourage social distancing.”

Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader for Sandwell Council, added: “We’re delighted to be able to work in partnership with MML, helping them to build on the measures they’ve already taken to keep customers and employees safe during the pandemic. Clearly, rapid testing is an effective way to boost efforts to halt the spread of the virus.”