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Coronavirus testing expanded into all adult care homes in England
8 June 2020, 17:54
Coronavirus testing has now been expanded into all adult care homes in England, the Health Secretary has announced.
At the Downing Street press conference, Matt Hancock said adult care homes would now be included in the plan after claiming success in his target of getting all staff and residents in elderly care settings a test by early June.
He said: "We've now sent over a million test kits to almost 9,000 elderly care homes and the care homes themselves asked that they have the flexibility to do the test when it works for them.
"The good news is that the test results so far do not show a significant rise in the number of positive cases despite going through and testing all of the residents and staff. "
Extending the scheme, he said: "We will now make sure that we do all of this in working age care homes as well.
"I can announce that from today all remaining adult care homes in England will be able to order the whole care home testing service for residents and staff.
"This service will benefit residents and staff in over 6,000 more care homes."
The government has faced criticism for their handling over care homes, despite insistence they threw a "ring of steel" around them when the outbreak began.
NHS England has said 25,060 patients were moved from hospitals to care homes between 17 March and the middle of April, despite guidance advising patients be tested.
Mr Hancock insisted it is safe for people to send their loved ones into care homes.
He told the Downing Street press conference: "With all of the measures that we've put in place over the past few months, all of the billions of pounds extra that we've put in, it's clear that the epidemic in care homes is coming under control.
"Even those care homes where there are cases have very strong infection control procedures in place.
"In fact, if you look at the proportion of people in the UK who have sadly died in care homes, it is significantly lower than in comparable countries across Europe."