Hancock says millions of people now eligible for coronavirus tests in the UK

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Millions of people are now eligible for a coronavirus (Covid-19) test under an expansion of the testing programme announced by Matt Hancock. The health secretary said key workers and anyone in their household will now be eligible for tests if they have symptoms of the virus.

At least 18,738 people in the UK have died so far after contracting the virus. The government has faced criticism in recent weeks for not ramping up testing enough.

Key workers on the list are the same as those for access to schools, and include NHS and social care workers, police officers, teachers, social workers, those in the justice system, undertakers, some in local government, supermarket and food production workers, journalists, transport workers, and some people in utilities and IT.

Hancock said people can register for a test on the gov.uk website. People will then receive a text or email with an appointment at a drive-through centre or can request a home test kit, although the latter are currently in limited supply. A help desk has reportedly been established to aid the process, while mobile units run by the army are travelling around the country to where they are needed, such as care homes.

Essential workers will be able to book coronavirus tests direct, while companies will also be able to book them for employees.

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else.

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Coronavirus cases in Great Britain
(PA Graphics)

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