All the people in Sheffield now eligible for Covid-19 test under government’s new plans

Millions more people, including all over-65s and those living with them, are now eligible for coronavirus testing under plans announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 7:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 7:04 pm

In a massive expansion of testing as the Government tries to hit its 100,000-tests-a day target, set for Thursday, Mr Hancock said care home residents and staff together with NHS patients and staff can now get a test, whether they have symptoms or not.

Older people over the age of 65 plus anyone in their households are also eligible, but only if they have symptoms.

In addition, anyone who needs to go out to work can get a test alongside the people they live with, as long as they have symptoms.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock - Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Mr Hancock said: "From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe."

Some 41 drive-through centres are currently in place, Mr Hancock said, with a further 48 going live this week.

The availability of home tests - which can be booked via the gov.uk website - is also expanding from 5,000 kits per day to 25,000 a day by the end of the week, Mr Hancock said.

The Army is currently running 17 mobile testing centres which are travelling around the country, but the plan is to increase this to 70 by the end of the week, he added.

He insisted the Government was on track to meet the goal of 100,000 tests a day, saying there was now capacity for 73,400 tests per day.

Some 43,453 tests were carried out across the UK on Monday.

Mr Hancock said that in an effort to "bring as much transparency as possible" to the death figures, "from tomorrow we will be publishing not just the number of deaths in hospital each day, but the number of deaths in care homes and the community too".

Such a move would "add to our understanding of how this virus is spreading day by day, and it will help inform the judgments that we make as we work to keep people safe", he added.

It comes as 21,678 patients have now died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Monday, up 586 on the day before.

Analysis by the PA news agency shows some 24,243 deaths involving coronavirus have now been formally registered across the UK, though the true toll is thought to be far higher.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released on Tuesday show around three in 10 of all Covid-19 deaths are now occurring in care homes.