UK expands virus testing; anyone over five with symptoms now eligible


Boris Johnson's government wants to work with teachers and trade unions to help some students return to schools from June 1, the prime minister's spokesman said on Monday (18), trying to ease growing concerns. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson's government wants to work with teachers and trade unions to help some students return to schools from June 1, the prime minister's spokesman said on Monday (18), trying to ease growing concerns. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BRITAIN has expanded its testing scheme to allow anyone aged over five with Covid-19 symptoms to book a test to see if they have the virus, Matt Hancock announced on Monday (18)

The health secretary also said the government had recruited 21,000 staff to work for its tracing system designed to find those who have had contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

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

“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,” Hancock said.

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.

If the number of cases continues to fall, Britain hopes to begin re-opening schools and other parts of its shuttered economy over the coming months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to work with teachers and trade unions to help some students return to schools from June 1, his spokesman said on Monday.

Some teachers had criticised the government for moving too quickly to return some students to schools, part of concerns in Britain that the country was not ready even for the tentative easing of rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We continue to want to work with teachers, head teachers and the unions in order to find a way to have a controlled and careful return of some year groups from June 1 at the earliest,” the spokesman told reporters.