City bankers and traders have been told to continue weekly testing despite Boris Johnson scrapping free lateral flow and PCR tests as part of his “learning to live with Covid” plans.
The Prime Minister’s decision to bring free lateral flow and PCR tests to an end has been met with resistance, including from Sir Keir Starmer, who said that charging for the tests did not make sense for public health or the economy.
Some of the world’s biggest banks, which pay for the tests themselves, have told their UK workers to continue testing before coming to work despite Number 10’s push for personal responsibility.
Goldman Sachs has told staff that “testing continues” which means that those going into the office must still prove they have taken a lateral flow test at least once a week, sources said.
NatWest said it will also continue to encourage colleagues to take a lateral flow test before going to work, while JP Morgan staff have been told that while they no longer need to wear masks, on-site testing and at-home test kits will continue to be available.
However Citigroup, which has been one of the strictest companies in the country when it comes to testing rules, only allowing staff into the office if they have done a test three times a week, has significantly rowed back on its policy.
“From Monday 7th March, you will no longer be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter our offices,” it told staff in a memo. “We shall continue to provide testing kits until the end of March for those who wish to continue to test.”
The Wall Street bank last month fired all unvaccinated US staff as it pressed ahead with a strict policy. More than nine out of 10 of its workforce are fully vaccinated.