The Government have announced that health workers on the frontline will start being tested this weekend to see if they have coronavirus. Tests will be given to critical care doctors and nurses first followed by staff in emergency departments, paramedics and GPs.
At the daily press conference on the virus epidemic, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said antigen testing – which checks whether people currently have the disease – would give health and social care workers “security in the knowledge that they are safe to return to work if their test is negative”. He added: “These tests will be trialled for people on the frontline starting immediately, with hundreds to take place by the end of the weekend – dramatically scaling up next week.”
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said it was “urgently important that we are able to test frontline workers who are off sick or otherwise isolating”. He indicated that testing would be widened out to cover more workers, including essential public service workers and social care workers, as capacity increases.