Covid-19 tests for over 65s and workers who have to leave home in order to do their jobs are to be rolled out across England.
Testing will be available from Wednesday for those with coronavirus symptoms aged over 65 and members of their households, and workers who cannot work from home – like construction workers and plumbers – and their households.
The government website is now open for eligible people to book tests at regional testing centres.
Health secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement at Tuesday’s daily Downing Street press briefing.
He 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.
“It’s possible because we’ve expanded capacity for testing thus far.”
The announcement comes after Matt Hancock came under fire this week for not yet reaching his goal of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of April.
He said the current testing capacity stands at 73,000 and the government is “still on track” to meet the goal, with two days left until the end of the month.
The Health Secretary also announced that 48 new test centres have now opened across the country and the dispatch of home tests kits is to be expanded to 25,000 a day by the end of the week.
Mobile testing units manned by the army will total more than 70 by the end of the week, Mr Hancock added.
Asymptomatic care home residents, staff and hospital patients will also now be able to be tested in England.
Mr Hancock said: “I am determined to do everything I can to protect the most vulnerable.”
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