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Essential workers to be eligible for COVID-19 testing as government ramps up capacity

Essential workers to be eligible for COVID-19 testing as government ramps up capacity

Essential workers in England and members of their households will be able to book Coronavirus tests online from tomorrow due to expansions in testing capacity, the Health Secretary has said.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street Coronavirus press conference on Thursday, Matt Hancock said that the criteria for who can be tested for COVID-19 would now be expanded. Up to now, NHS workers, social care staff and emergency services workers had been allowed to be tested, but now all essential workers and their families who need testing will also be eligible. 

Mr Hancock said the expansion of testing was "part of getting Britain back on her feet".

Essential workers will be able to book an appointment to be tested from tomorrow on the government's website. Essential workers include those people working in government, health and social care, as teachers and in key transport and logistics roles.

Plans have also been announced for a new NHS contact-tracing app. The app, which will track close contact with others, will include the ability to alert people that may have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, around 18,000 people are to be recruited as contract tracers to ensure that every infected person is isolated before they can pass the virus on to others.

The announcements came after it was confirmed that 616 more people have died in UK hospitals after contracting the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said on Thursday that the UK is "still at that period coming through the peak", but is "heading very much in the right direction".

 

Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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