Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Anyone aged five or older can now get a Covid-19 test if they display symptoms
18 May 2020, 16:09
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed anyone aged five or over who has coronavirus symptoms is now able to get tested.
Mr Hancock told MPs in the Commons: "We are expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before."
He added: "Yesterday we conducted 100,678 tests. Every day we are creating more capacity and that means more people can be tested, and the virus has fewer places to hide.
"Today, 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 with a new continuous cough, a high temperature or the loss or change of sense of taste or smell can book a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus."
Mr Hancock also said that more than 21,000 contact tracers have been recruited in England to help manually trace the contacts of anyone who has had a positive Covid-19 test.
"Today I can confirm that we have recruited over 21,000 contact tracers in England. This includes 7,500 health care professionals who will provide our call handlers with expert clinical advice.
"They will help manually trace the contacts of anyone who's had a positive test and advise them on whether they need to isolate. They have rigorous training with detailed procedures designed by our experts at Public Health England.
"They have stepped up to serve their county in its hour of need and I want to thank them in advance for the lifesaving work that they're about to do."
He also confirmed that SAGE had updated coronavirus symptoms to add guidance that people who are experiencing a loss or change in their sense of smell, even without any other coronavirus symptom, should self-isolate for seven days.
Mr Hancock said: "The four UK chief medical officers have today updated the case definition to include a new symptom.
"Throughout this pandemic we've said that if you develop a new continuous cough or a fever, then you should immediately self-isolate.
"From today we are including anosmia, which means that if you have lost your sense of smell or are experiencing a change in your normal sense of smell or taste, that can be a symptom of coronavirus, even where the other symptoms are not present.
"So, from today, if you develop a continuous cough, or fever or anosmia you should immediately self-isolate for at least seven days in line with the guidelines. Members of your household should self-isolate for 14 days."