Anyone over the age of FIVE with coronavirus symptoms can now apply for a test, Matt Hancock announces, hours after Sturgeon gazumps him again with same announcement
- Matt Hancock has said everyone with symptoms can apply for coronavirus test
- Applies to those over the age of five across the UK, the Health Secretary said
- Tests can be booked online and carried out at drive-through or mobile centres
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Anyone over the age of five in the UK with coronavirus symptoms can now apply for a test, Matt Hancock announced today.
The Health Secretary revealed checks will would be available at the drive-in centres or through mobile screening and could be booked online.
Nicola Sturgeon gazumped Mr Hancock to the announcement, revealing the move at her daily Edinburgh briefing hours before it was revealed in the Commons.
Britain has been repeatedly blasted for its lacklustre response to testing throughout the crisis, which spiralled out of control at the start of March.
Mr Hancock told MPs in the Commons: ‘We are expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before.’
In the House of Commons today, Mr Hancock said: ‘We are expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before.
‘Yesterday we conducted 100,678 tests. Every day we are creating more capacity and that means more people can be tested, and the virus has fewer places to hide.
‘Today, I can announce to the House everyone aged five and over with symptoms is now eligible for a test. That applies right across the UK in all four nations from now.
‘Anyone with a new continuous cough, a high temperature or the loss or change of sense of taste or smell can book a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus.’
It comes after the government expanded the symptoms of coronavirus to state that people should self-isolate if they lose their sense of smell or taste.
In the first change to the policy since the beginning of the outbreak, officials have added a third tell-tale sign to the government’s definition of COVID-19.
The chief medical officers of the UK say anosmia – the scientific name for the loss of the senses – is clearly linked to the virus and should be treated with the same amount of caution as a fever or a new cough, the only other two official symptoms.
Angered doctors welcomed the move but said it had ‘taken too long’, with the UK lagging behind other countries and the World Health Organization after nose and throat specialists first sounded the alarm about this in March.
The announcement was pre-empted by Nicola Sturgeon, who revealed at her daily Edinburgh briefing earlier that Scots aged over five will be able to apply for tests