Caroline Welcomes Covid-19 Testing Eligibility Expansion

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the announcement that the eligibility for Covid-19 tests has been expanded to anyone over the age of 5 who is symptomatic.

The listed symptoms of Covid-19 has also been extended to include a ‘loss of or change in your normal sense of smell’, as well as a new, continuous cough and high temperature.

If anyone has any of the three symptoms listed they should self-isolate along will all members of their household to prevent the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 4.81 million people worldwide, including 122 Gosport residents.

Testing is a key part of the strategy to stop the transmission of Covid-19. The Government is currently planning out the new test and trace service, currently trialling on the Isle of Wight,

The NHS COVID-19 App aims to minimise the spread while simultaneously allowing the Government to ease lockdown measures. When a person reports symptoms on the app, it will inform those who have been in significant contact with them over the past few days, including unknown contacts. These contacts will then be provided with guidance and how to get tested.

Over 21 000 contact tracers have now been recruited in England to work with public health teams. Their role will be to reach out to those who have been in contact with a symptomatic person.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“Following the massive ramping up of our national testing programme, anybody with symptoms of coronavirus in the United Kingdom is now eligible for a test.

“This is a huge step forward in our plan to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and give the peace of mind these tests can bring.

“We will continue to give priority to NHS staff and care home residents and workers in order to protect our most vulnerable.”

Testing capacity itself has significantly expanded, with the 100 000 test target a day reached on the final day of April and the Government gearing towards the aim of 200 000 daily tests. This is possible as the NHS/Public Health England laboratory network has doubled capacity, with 50 regional test centres – including Tripner Lorry Park in Portsmouth. Mobile testing units have also been set up, home testing and three new Lighthouse laboratories to process results.

Caroline commented:

“I am pleased to see how our testing capacity has rapidly expanded, to ensure that everyone who presents with symptoms can get the test they need.

“Continued lockdown is important to ensure that we protect our community. Nonetheless, testing and tracing are going to play a significant role to helping us get back to work and kickstarting the economy again, not to mention being reunited with our loved ones.”

If you are symptomatic you can apply for a test here: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the interest, you can call 119 in England.