Coronavirus: Government to prioritise NHS and care properties for testing

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Pedestrians walk past a sign displaying a Covid helpline in London, Britain, 15 September 2020 Image copyright EPA

The authorities will publish particulars of its plan to prioritise coronavirus exams within the subsequent few days, after widespread issues with the system.

Top of the listing can be NHS workers and sufferers, and people in care properties.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock mentioned he did “not shirk from decisions” about who needs to be prioritised.

It comes because the mayor of Greater Manchester – home to England’s highest an infection fee – mentioned time was working out to repair the testing system.

“I think we have two or three weeks to fix these things,” mayor Andy Burnham instructed the BBC’s Newsnight programme. “If we don’t, the worry is we’ll never gain control as we head into autumn and winter.”

Bolton NHS Trust in Greater Manchester mentioned on Tuesday {that a} “high volume of patients” had turned as much as accident and emergency asking for a take a look at.

Mr Burnham referred to as on the federal government to work with native authorities to determine the place there are shortages and the place capability needs to be centered.

The authorities’s testing system – a part of its take a look at, observe and hint operation which Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised can be “world-beating” – has confronted criticism in current weeks.

A surge in demand for coronavirus exams has led to native shortages, with many individuals reporting issues with getting on-line bookings and being directed to check websites a whole bunch of miles from their properties.

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Media captionThe BBC spoke to individuals attempting to get exams at a centre in Oldham

Ministers have acknowledged there are persevering with issues with the system.

The giant Lighthouse laboratories run by the federal government to analyse take a look at swabs from all of the UK nations have been below pressure to course of all of them.

There appear to be sufficient testing websites however there are bottlenecks within the labs for processing the swabs and that’s the reason take a look at slots are restricted, BBC well being editor Hugh Pym mentioned.

A brand new lab is because of be up and working however that may very well be a couple of weeks away – and till then ministers say present issues are prone to proceed.

Speaking within the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Hancock mentioned: “Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised testing according to need. Over the summer, when demand was low, we were able to meet all requirements for testing, whether priorities or not.

“But as demand has risen, so we’re having to prioritise as soon as once more and I don’t shirk from choices about prioritisation. They should not at all times snug, however they’re necessary.”

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Media captionMatt Hancock: “We’re working across the clock to verify everybody who wants a take a look at can get a take a look at”

Mr Hancock added: “The top priority is and always has been acute clinical care. The next priority is social care, where we’re now sending over 100,000 tests a day because we’ve all seen the risks this virus poses in care homes.

“We’ll set out in full an up to date prioritisation and I don’t rule out additional steps to verify our exams are used in line with these priorities.”

The Department of Health has said about a quarter of people requesting tests have no need to do so – and only those with relevant symptoms should book.

Mr Johnson is likely to face questions about testing in Parliament on Wednesday, at Prime Minister’s Questions – although he will be up against deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, rather than leader Sir Keir Starmer who’s self-isolating.

Meanwhile the leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has called on the government to “place our belief within the native” and allow local public health teams to have a greater role in dealing with the pandemic.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said ministers should “solely do centrally what should be finished centrally”.

He said the “new regular of living with Covid-19 will solely be sustainable – and even endurable – if we problem our dependancy to centralisation”.

It comes after the UK government introduced the new “rule of six” that came into force on Monday, banning gatherings of six people or more.

According to official government figures on Tuesday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has increased by 3,105.

The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds across the UK has passed 100 for the first time in nearly two months. There were 106 patients on ventilation in the UK on Monday – the first time the figure has been more than 100 since 24 July.

Around 220,000 tests are processed each day, according to government figures for Monday.

The government said its testing capacity as of last week was more than 370,000 – which includes swab tests and antibody tests. The aim is to increase that to 500,000 a day by the end of October.