In Brief

Government expands coronavirus testing – am I eligible?

Those in care homes, people over 65 and those who must leave home to work can now be tested

Coronavirus testing has opened for millions more people in England after the government loosened rules on who can apply.

“Testing! Testing! Testing!” says The Sun’s front page as it reports that care home residents and staff, people over 65 and those who must leave home to work are now entitled to a test. Those eligible can arrange a test on the government’s test-booking website.

The BBC says the government’s latest move “represents a massive expansion of who is eligible for testing - and means we are now one step away from allowing everyone to access a test if they have symptoms”.

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Downing Street is aiming to meet its target of 100,000 tests per day by tomorrow. The government says just over 43,000 took place on Monday, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock bet an LBC presenter £100 yesterday that the target would be met as home-testing kits and mobile units were expanded rapidly.

Speaking at yesterday’s coronavirus briefing, 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.”

A Whitehall source told Sky News an additional 15 million Britons could now be eligible for coronavirus tests under the expanded programme, bringing the total now be eligible to 25 million.

The Guardian says the expansion of eligibility for testing will be “important for the government’s ability to ease lockdown measures”

Eligibility for testing varies around the UK. In Scotland, all patients over 70 who are admitted to hospital for any reason will now be tested for coronavirus. 

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, testing has begun in some GP practices and will be expanded in hospitals and care homes. Wales has a needs-based approach for NHS and “critical” non-NHS workers.

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