Saturday 28 March 2020 10:07 am

Coronavirus testing to be rolled out for frontline NHS staff this weekend

NHS staff in England are set to be tested for coronavirus from this weekend in an effort to prevent frontline healthcare workers from being required to take unnecessary time off.

Those with symptoms or in a household with people who have symptoms will be checked as a priority.

Read more: UK coronavirus: Chief medical officer Chris Whitty self-isolates

Critical care doctors and nurses will be the first to receive testing.

It comes after calls for NHS workers to be given priority on testing, with a number of staff having to self-isolate despite being unsure if they have Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, all tested positive for coronavirus yesterday and are now self-isolating.

Johnson said he had experienced mild symptoms from Thursday and was encouraged to take a test.

However, he insisted he would continue to lead the government’s response from his home in Downing Street.

Hancock said his symptoms were also mild and he would continue to work from home.

As a result, Michael Gove held the daily conference on Friday and said hundreds of antigen tests would be given to frontline NHS staff this weekend.

Read more: UK coronavirus death toll jumps 31 per cent to 759

The number of deaths in the UK had its biggest daily rise yesterday, climbing by 181 to 759, while there have now been 14,543 confirmed cases, although the UK has only conducted limited testing at hospitals so far.

Gove said testing would be “dramatically” upscaled from next week, with ambulance crews, paramedics and GPs all expected to be included, before social care staff receive testing too.

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