Coronavirus tests for anyone across the UK if they have symptoms, Matt Hancock announces
CORONAVIRUS tests will now be available for anyone aged five and over across the UK if they need it, Matt Hancock has revealed today.
The Health Secretary said anyone can apply to have a test if they show signs of having the virus – including if they lose their sense of taste or smell.
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Mr Hancock told the House of Commons this afternoon: "Everyone aged five and over with symptoms is now eligible for a test.
"That applies right across the UK across all four nations from now."
They can book them online or phone up to get one too, he said.
Previously only people over 65 or key workers were allowed to go to a test centre or order one online.
Anyone who is suffering with a cough, fever or loss of smell would be eligible for the test, now.
This morning a lack of taste and smell were added to the official symptoms of coronavirus.
England's deputy chief medical officer today announced anyone suffering from either will have to self-isolate for seven days and their family remain indoors for 14.
Mr Hancock also revealed that 21,000 contact tracers had been hired to help study the spread of the bug and stop it from being transmitted across the country.
He told the Commons: "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."
These will then be at drive-in centres across the country, with the army working on mobile testing units to make it easier for those in remote areas.
In a boost for Boris Johnson, 49-year-old also praised the UK Government for helping it to happen.
She said: "Today's expansion is a result of co-operation between NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government and the UK Government.
"It will help more people to know if they have the virus, and it will also be helpful as we build towards our strategy of Test, Trace, Isolate."
Currently tests in the rest of the UK are only available to key workers, people who can't work at home and the over-65s if they have symptoms.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to unveil an expansion of the UK's "swab" testing in parliament later today.
His appearance comes after it emerged the Government's full full test, track and trace programme has been delayed til next week.