'Substantial number' of care home deaths expected, UK's head of testing tells LBC

29 April 2020, 08:36 | Updated: 29 April 2020, 13:53

The UK's coronavirus national testing co-ordinator Professor John Newton has told LBC he expects a "substantial number" of people living in care homes will have died, ahead of the Government's release of the figures on Wednesday.

From today the Government will publish daily figures on care home deaths, showing the scale of the coronavirus pandemic among older people.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Professor Newton said: "We have always known that a proportion of cases have been in care homes.

"Sadly coronavirus affects older people a lot more... There will be a substantial number (of deaths)."

He added the Government is "massively increasing" the number of tests carried out on those living and working in care homes.

ONS figures released on Tuesday showed around three in 10 of all Covid-19 deaths are now occurring in care homes.

Professor John Newton made the comments while speaking to LBC
Professor John Newton made the comments while speaking to LBC. Picture: PA

The professor stressed those newly eligible for coronavirus tests should only apply for a test if they have symptoms.

The Government announced on Tuesday that millions more people, including all over-65s and those living with them, are now eligible for coronavirus testing.

Speaking to LBC on Wednesday morning, Prof Newton said: "This is for people who are unwell with coronavirus symptoms, and their households... it's not a screen."

He added there are a "number of ways" people can access the test, including over 40 drive-in centres, and a limited number of postage tests sent directly to homes.

"If you have symptoms, go on to gov.uk and there's a special link that tells you how to log on and get a test," he said.

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