April 24, 2020
We are fully aware of the importance of testing. Our priority is and has always been to make sure that tests are being used on people who need them most, and help people affected by coronavirus. That’s why this Government has been constantly scaling up our testing capacity, with the goal of carrying out 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.
And to help reach that goal, all essential workers in England, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested, the government has announced.
This will mean individuals and people they live with will have the reassurance of knowing whether their symptoms are caused by coronavirus and will know if it is safe for them to return to work.
A new campaign will help essential workers in England to access testing. That includes NHS and care staff, emergency services personnel, teachers, and other essential workers in critical infrastructure.
The aim is that most people should not have to drive for more than 45 minutes to get to a regional testing site, and the Government is working to make that possible for more and more people. To help testing accessibility, the Government is also rolling out other testing methods, as part of a wide scientifically-led action plan.
That means new mobile testing units are being established to reach people in care homes, police stations, prisons, and more sites. These tests have been designed by experts and army engineers to precise clinical standards. As a result, these tests can be set up in less than 20 minutes, and will send thousands of patient samples to a network of labs – so more and more tests are completed each day.
The Government has also worked with Royal Mail, Amazon, and other key industry partners to design an expert delivery service to send home testing kits to those who need it.
This ensures those not able to travel to a test centre can still take the test, find out their results and return to work if possible.
And the Government is working with Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission, and others to send packages of satellite test kits directly to care homes across England. That way, symptomatic residents can be tested easily and be given the care they need.
The Government is expanding testing to critical NHS staff, and their families, to help ensure they can stay in work if they test negative, and to give time to recover for those with symptoms.
The Government is following a five-pillar strategy, designed to scale up testing in line with expert guidance. Swab testing has been offered to different groups in a phased approach, prioritising NHS workers, but the ultimate aim is that anyone who needs a test will be able to have one.
The overriding aim is to save lives, protect the vulnerable, and relieve the strain on the NHS. Most people who experience coronavirus will have mild symptoms. But it is crucial that we support those most at risk, such as patients and staff who care for them.
That way, the NHS has the capacity to cope with any surges in demand that come about from the virus. And by protecting the NHS, we will save lives.
Testing is one part of the Government’s overall strategy in the battle against coronavirus.
The Prime Minister’s step-by-step action plan is aiming to stop the spread of coronavirus so fewer people are sick at any one time, to support the NHS’s ability to cope. By testing our essential workers, staff know that they are safe to help patients who need care, and they can know when to come back to work safely to do their jobs and help those who need it.
But by staying at home, you are also helping to limit the spread of coronavirus. By only going outside for food, health reasons or work, you will be doing your part to prevent coronavirus spreading further. Which will protect the NHS’s ability to cope.
We are starting to see progress in the battle against the virus. But for now, we have to continue social distancing measures so the NHS can continue to cope, daily death rates continue to fall, and to reduce the risk of a second peak.
So continue to follow the Government’s advice: stay at home, to protect the NHS, and save lives.
Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:
“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”