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Government pledges to offer coronavirus tests to essential workers and their households

PUBLISHED: 17:34 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 23 April 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19. Picture: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19. Picture: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has pledged the government will offer coronavirus tests to every essential worker and their households.

The Covid-19 drive-through testing centre near the Copdock interchange in Ipswich  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Covid-19 drive-through testing centre near the Copdock interchange in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Hancock made the announcement as he warned the country will not lift lockdown measures until the risk of a second peak is alleviated – while stressing it is essential for Britain to return to her feet.

Under the government’s definition of “essential workers”, healthcare workers, carers, teachers and supermarket staff are among the many professions eligible for the tests.

Mr Hancock said: “From today, employers of essential workers will be able to go on gov.uk to get a test for any of their staff.

“From tomorrow, any essential workers who need a test will be able to book an appointment on gov.uk themselves, directly.

“This all applies for people in essential workers’ households too who need a test.

“It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”

The news comes following the opening of a drive-through test centre at the park and ride car park in Copdock earlier this week.

Mr Hancock earlier pledged 100,000 Covid-19 tests to be conducted daily as of May, and has since claimed the government is ahead of schedule with the capability to carry out 51,000 tests a day.

“Because capacity has now increased so substantially we are now able to expand who can get the tests.

“Our ultimate goal is that everyone who could benefit from a test gets a test.

“We’ve travelled too far to go backwards now.”


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