ON WEDNESDAY April 22, 23,560 tests were carried out on 14,629 people, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the capacity had now increased to 51,000 per day – which still remains almost 50,000 below his promise of 100,000 a day before the end of the month.
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To boost this number, the Government has now expanded testing to millions of key workers and the people they live with if they are showing symptoms coronavirus.
The DHSC said testing key workers would allow them to return to work if their results came back negative.
Now, key workers can book a test online or apply for home testing kit.
Who is eligible to be tested?
From April 24, seven million of England's key workers and their families were this week told they can now be tested for the virus.
The Health Secretary revealed key workers – and their families – will be able to get swab tested for coronavirus.
Ten million people are expected to fall into this category with NHS staff, teachers, delivery drivers and supermarket workers among those classed as key workers.
Anyone can check if they are eligible and where they can get a test at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
How do I book a coronavirus test?
Those who are eligible have two options: ordering a DIY home kit or visit a drive-thru testing facility.
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a new web portal for employers and self-referral for key workers and their families.
The website launched at 8am on Friday, April 24, but by 10am applications had shut after testing kits had run out.
Applications went live again at 8am on Saturday, April 25, but today became the second in a row that requests for home testing kits and appointments for drive-thru tests have had to be stopped because demand reached capacity in England and Wales.
There is still some availability for drive-thru tests in Scotland.
More bookings will be released throughout the day for those in England, the government has confirmed.
Bookings will reopen at 8am everyday.
More bookings will be released throughout the day for those in England, the government has said, and bookings will reopen at 8am each day.
Workers who are self-isolating at home can be referred for testing by their employer through an online portal.
The employer inputs the details of any essential worker who is self-isolating into the secure portal, and if the worker is referred they receive a unique code via text message which they can use to book themselves for a test.
However, the tests are limited to five people per household, so you may have to prioritise the most vulnerable in your home first if you have a larger household.
A help desk is reportedly being set up to deal with inquires too.
You will need to bring your worker ID or some other form of proof to the test to show you are a key worker.
Where are the test centres?
The five ways key workers and their families can get a test are:
- Testing in NHS hospitals
- Regional test centres in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Satellite centres
- Be sent a home test kit
- Mobile testing units which travel around the country.
There are now 31 drive thru testing sites available across the country with plans to set up around 50 more testing centres in the coming weeks.
This requires a few personal details – name, mobile number and profession.
You then submit your application.
Once a key worker submits their info, they receive an email or text the same day inviting them to book a test.
They will then be able to choose an appointment at their local drive-thought test site.
Home test kit numbers will initially be limited, so the government is encouraging people to take this option if they can.
To get started, click this link here.
Where are the drive through test centres?
There are now 29 Regional Test Sites set up by the Department of Health and Social Care:
- Birmingham (Midland Metropolitan)
- Milton Keynes
- NHS Nightingale London
The Department of Health and Social Care are currently supporting 13 NHS trusts with satellite test sites for their staff (located in: Bexhill; Bognor Regis; Bradford; Chester; Coventry; Crewe; Huddersfield; Kendal; Lincolnshire; Liverpool; Manchester; Sandwell and Wakefield).
For Brits without a car, home testing kits, including swabs and instructions, are now made available to order online.
About 1,000 at-home tests are scheduled to be sent out daily.
They will be delivered by Amazon within 24 hours, before being collected the next day by Royal Mail.
You can book a home test online but the service is only available from 8am to 8pm.
It's also limited to five people per household, so you may have to prioritise the most vulnerable in your home first if you have a larger household.
Packages of satellite test kits will also be sent directly to care homes across England to enable testing of symptomatic residents.
How does the test work?
The antigen or swab test can detect if a person currently has Covid-19, while the antibody test tells you if you have had it.
Samples are taken from nose and throat swabs.
How long does it take to receive the results?
All those tested will get their results by text within 48 hours of having their swab taken.
Are tests going to be available for everyone?
The short answer is no.
Swab testing kits for the general public are currently not available.
But a pioneering year-long study could give up yo 300,000 Brits coronavirus home-testing to help track the spread of the outbreak.
Officials will initially contact 20,000 households in England.
Participants will be tested for the killer bug every week for a month by a trained nurse.
They will then provide a monthly swab for the rest of the trial.
As well as checking Brits for current infection, around 2,000 adults will also provide a blood sample to screen for antibodies against the disease.
The tests will help reveal the true scale and spread of the outbreak – with the first results expected in early May.
Scientists said the trial will help “transform our understanding” of the infection.
The UK coronavirus death toll yesterday hit more than 19,500 with more than 140,000 cases.
The number of deaths of frontline workers has continued to grow, with fears the number is at least above 60.
But WHO today warned there was no guarantee patients who had recovered from the virus would be immune from catching it again.
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