Up to 10 million key workers and their households can now book a coronavirus test online or through their employer. The move allows all essential workers in England to register for tests on the government’s website, if they or a family member have virus symptoms.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the expanded testing programme was “part of getting Britain back on her feet”. The government remains some way short of its target of 100,000 tests a day in England by the end of this month. The new testing arrangements go along with a commitment to recruit 18,000 people to trace contacts of those infected.
Those who can now register for a test include NHS and social care workers, police officers, teachers, those in the justice system, supermarket and food production workers, journalists and transport workers. The aim is to allow essential staff to safely return to work. Mr Hancock said once people enter their details online they will be sent a text or email inviting them to either book an appointment at a drive-through centre or to request a home test kit, though the latter are currently in limited supply. The home kits would be collected by courier and would initially start in “small numbers” before the service grows. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat.
Mr Hancock has said the “majority” of people will get their result in 24 hours, but for some it might take a bit longer.
(Source: drawn from BBC News online 24/4)