Coronavirus Europe Health UK

Five and overs in UK now eligible for test, loss of smell and taste added to #COVID19 symptom list

Everyone aged five and over in the UK with symptoms can now be tested for coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

He was speaking in Parliament after the loss of taste or smell was added to the list of Covid-19 symptoms, alongside a fever and a new persistent cough.

Mr Hancock said the government was “expanding eligibility for testing further than ever before”.

He added 100,678 tests had been conducted on Sunday.

Testing in England and Scotland has been limited to people with symptoms who are key workers and their families, hospital patients, care home residents, over-65s and those who need to leave home to work.

In Wales and Northern Ireland it was just key workers, hospital workers and care home residents.

Mr Hancock said that priority for testing would still be given to NHS staff and care home workers and residents to “protect our most vulnerable”.

A further 160 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the UK as of 17:00 BST on Sunday taking the official total to 34,796 – the highest figure in Europe.

Earlier, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the extension of testing there as she revealed lockdown measures would be eased from 28 May.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has also announced an easing of lockdown including new rules to allow groups of four to six people who do not share a household to meet outdoors.

The UK government has ramped up testing and made it part of its five goals to meet in order to leave lockdown.

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