Coronavirus tests for anyone over age of five with symptoms across the UK, Matt Hancock reveals


CORONAVIRUS tests will now be available for anyone aged five and over across the UK if they need it, Matt Hancock has revealed today.

The Health Secretary said anyone can apply to have a test if they show signs of having the virus – including if they lose their sense of taste or smell.

Matt Hancock announced the change this afternoon
A health worker offers a swab through a car window at a ‘drive-through’ coronavirus testing facility at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh

Mr Hancock told the House of Commons this afternoon: “Everyone aged five and over with symptoms is now eligible for a test.

“That applies right across the UK across all four nations from now.”

They can book them online or phone up to get one too, he said.

Previously only people over 65 or key workers were allowed to go to a test centre or order one online.

Anyone who is suffering with a cough, fever or loss of smell would be eligible for the test, now.

This morning a lack of taste and smell were added to the official symptoms of coronavirus.

England’s deputy chief medical officer today announced anyone suffering from either will have to self-isolate for seven days and their family remain indoors for 14.

Mr Hancock also revealed that 21,000 contact tracers had been hired to help study the spread of the bug and stop it from being transmitted across the country.

He told the Commons: “Today I can confirm that we have recruited over 21,000 contact tracers in England. This includes 7,500 health care professionals who will provide our call handlers with expert clinical advice.

“They will help manually trace the contacts of anyone who’s had a positive test and advise them on whether they need to isolate. They have rigorous training with detailed procedures designed by our experts at Public Health England.

“They have stepped up to serve their county in its hour of need and I want to thank them in advance for the lifesaving work that they’re about to do.”

These will then be at drive-in centres across the country, with the army working on mobile testing units to make it easier for those in remote areas.

In a boost for Boris Johnson, 49-year-old also praised the UK Government for helping it to happen.

She said: “Today’s expansion is a result of co-operation between NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government and the UK Government.

“It will help more people to know if they have the virus, and it will also be helpful as we build towards our strategy of Test, Trace, Isolate.”

Currently tests in the rest of the UK are only available to key workers, people who can’t work at home and the over-65s if they have symptoms.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to unveil an expansion of the UK’s “swab” testing in parliament later today.

His appearance comes after it emerged the Government’s full full test, track and trace programme has been delayed til next week.

The scheme was supposed to be up and running from today.

Ms Sturgeon also announced the Scottish Government would publish its own “routemap” to easing lockdown measures on Thursday.

She added: “Thursday’s routemap will confirm that – assuming we see progress in suppressing the virus – the first phase will start from the next formal review date of 28 May.

“Within two weeks, my hope is that we will be taking some concrete steps on the journey back to normality.”

Boris published his own full roadmap to end the coronavirus lockdown last week.

The PM published a lengthy plan to get the country back to normal with an array of changes.

He told the House of Commons: “If everyone stays alert and follows the rules, we can control the virus, keep the rate of infection down and the keep number of infections down.

“And this Mr Speaker is how we can continue to save lives, and livelihoods, as we begin to recover from coronavirus.”

It comes as the UK death toll reached 34,636 yesterday and an increase of 170 on Saturday.

In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Sunday, 91,206 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 3,142 positive tests.

Nicola Sturgeon revealed the army will help with testing