/Gov warns key workers not to ‘waste’ coronavirus test orders

Gov warns key workers not to ‘waste’ coronavirus test orders

The government has warned some 10m key workers and their households not to ‘waste’ booking a coronavirus test as 16,000 were ordered on the first day of the online launch.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who led Friday’s government briefing, said the public should only be taking the test if they have reason to.

Speaking from Downing Street, he said: “There’s no point taking the test unless you think you have some symptoms, particularly no point if suspected to have it already.”

Professor Jenny Harries echoed his comments and said it’s ‘important that the public use these tests in the way intended.’

The deputy chief medical officer said: “This is the ‘Have you got it now?’ test it and it will be a wasted test if people track online, take one of those tests up, to find it’s a negative result.”

She added: “What we really want to do is encourage those who have symptoms to take the test or where somebody in their family does, then if these do prove negative, then it does mean those people can be back at work.”

When questioned over the effectiveness of a non-medical worker performing the test, Prof Harries assured that in the piloting stage, the tests ran parallel with a trained worker and a non-trained worker, and results were ‘remarkably comparable’.

Significant demand for tests meant applications were closed after several hours
(Image: Getty Images)

Furthermore, Mr Shapps dismissed suggestions that the website allowing critical workers to book tests had crashed.

He said: “There were reports that the website had crashed, which it hadn’t, it was simply that the slots for today were taken up.

“We’ve seen in the last few days this difference between the capacity available, I think the last figure I saw was 51,000, and the number of tests done, 28,000 yesterday.

“And how important it is to make sure we’re using that available capacity, people being able to book online directly, that’s all the critical workers, 10.72 million people with their families, are those who are able now to use that site.”

He confirmed: “I can tell you 16,000 of those were booked during the first period of that being online and the site has actually been brought back up around now for more people to go and book sites, it will then close off again, more tests will become available tomorrow and so on.”

On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that people whose work is critical to the Covid-19 response, and those they live with, will be able to register for a test if they have symptoms, such as a high temperature or a continuous dry cough.

NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production and essential utilities are among those now eligible along with those working in childcare.

At Thursday’s daily Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was ‘part of getting Britain back on her feet’.

Original Source