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Coronavirus: Anybody five and over with COVID-19 symptoms now eligible for test | UK News

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Anybody aged five and over who has coronavirus symptoms is now eligible for a test to see if they have the disease, the health secretary has announced.

Matt Hancock added that the government has also recruited 21,000 staff to work on its tracing system, designed to find those who have had contact with someone who has had COVID-19.

The expanded testing programme and track and trace system are key parts of Britain’s plan to move back to normality, following an outbreak which has killed more than 40,000 people.

Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: “I can announce to the house that 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 over five with coronavirus symptoms can now be tested. File pic
Image:
Anyone over five with coronavirus symptoms can now be tested. File pic

He added: “We now have the elements we need to roll out our national test and trace service – the testing capacity, the tracing capability and the technology.

“Building that system is incredibly important.”

Britain has already eased some of the restrictions implemented eight weeks ago to limit the spread of the virus, but remains on high alert in case the rate of transmission begins to increase.

The government hopes to begin re-opening schools and other parts of the economy if the number of positive cases continues to fall.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also announced an expansion in testing to anyone over the age of five with coronavirus symptoms in Scotland.

She added the country begin easing its coronavirus lockdown measures from the end of May.

Previously only essential workers, the over-65s and individuals who live with them could apply for coronavirus testing on the NHS website if they were showing symptoms.

Mr Hancock’s announcement in the House of Commons came after the chief medical officers added the loss of taste and smell to the NHS’ list of coronavirus symptoms.

A noticeable change to taste and smell is also now regarded as a symptom.

It comes weeks after experts first raised concerns that cases were being missed.

Anyone suffering the newly-added symptoms, or a continuous cough or high fever, should self-isolate for seven days to risk the spread of infection, and anyone they live with should stay home for 14 days.

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