Anyone over the age of five with coronavirus symptoms can now be tested, announces Government

18 May 2020, 16:13 | Updated: 18 May 2020, 16:20

Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced some changes to COVID-19 testing across the UK.

Coronavirus tests are now going to be available for anyone aged five and over in the UK.

Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that people can now apply to have a test for COVID-19, if they are showing symptoms of the virus.

READ MORE: NHS officially add loss of smell and taste to coronavirus symptoms list

These symptoms now include loss of smell and taste, which were added to NHS guidelines earlier today.

Matt Hancock announced the change in testing rules today
Matt Hancock announced the change in testing rules today. Picture: PA

In the House of Commons, Matt Hancock said: "Everyone aged five and over with symptoms is now eligible for a test.

"That applies right across the UK across all four nations from now."

The UK now have the option to apply for a coronavirus test online or over the phone, and will be eligible if they have had a cough, a fever or loss of smell and taste.

Anyone in the UK with coronavirus symptoms, over the age of five, can now be tested
Anyone in the UK with coronavirus symptoms, over the age of five, can now be tested. Picture: Getty

Earlier in the day, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced the news for the country, while Matt Hancock confirmed the news was nationwide later.

Speaking today in her daily press conference, Ms Sturgeon said: "From today, we are widening the number of people who can be tested for COVID-19. Anyone over the age of 5 who has any of the three symptoms of COVID-19, will now be able to book a test.

"Tests can be booked online, priority will be given to key workers, and these can be booked through an employers."

People can now book a test online or on the phone
People can now book a test online or on the phone. Picture: Getty

Earlier today, a new symptom was officially added to the NHS's list – loss of smell and taste.

Deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, said today: "Our basic case definition for some time has been a new continuous cough or fever.

"That will change to a new continuous cough, or fever, or anosmia."

He went on: "The reason for making the change now is that there has been a signal around the importance of anosmia as a symptom of Covid for a while now.

"It’s been important to continue to look at that and be sure that we consider it and introduce it at the right time when we think it’s going to make a difference to how we pick up cases.

"But let's be clear, this has been quite a difficult piece of science because there's a distinction between whether anosmia can occur with Covid-19 versus whether it occurs early enough to be a useful help in detecting more cases."

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