Matt Hancock has announced that efforts to ramp up coronavirus testing means that ‘every single person’ with symptoms can now get one.
The health secretary told the daily Downing Street briefing that NHS England now has the ability to carry out 161,000 tests per day.
He said: ‘Because of that increased capacity I can announce that we are expanding eligibility yet further. From tomorrow, we are expanding eligibility for testing to include the under-fives, so that now every single person who has symptoms of coronavirus can get a test, no matter their age.’
Mr Hancock appeared in front of a new lectern slogan, which read ‘NHS Test and Trace’, as he confirmed further details on the UK’s approach.
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He said the new test and trace scheme is the start of replacing the national lockdown with ‘individual isolation’ for those who have been in contact with coronavirus, along with ‘local action where it’s necessary to respond to a flare up’.
The health secretary said it would enable them to ‘hunt down the virus’ to find out who has been infected, adding: ‘We all have our part to play.
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‘This is a national effort and we all have a role. If you have symptoms, you must isolate immediately and get yourself a test.’
Mr Hancock said contact tracing would enable an NHS clinician and the person with the virus to work together ‘like detectives’ to identify the possible movements of the virus.
He went on: ‘We must all follow the NHS test and trace instructions as this is how we control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.’
Mr Hancock said: ‘If you get symptoms, isolate immediately and get a test. If you are contacted by NHS test and trace instructing you to isolate, you must. It is your civic duty, so you avoid unknowingly spreading the virus and you help to break the chain of transmission.’
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