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Journalists included in new coronavirus testing programme

Posted on: April 24, 2020 by Mariella Brown

The government has confirmed that journalists will be included in a list of key workers who can get access to free coronavirus testing.

In a pledge to ensure essential workers can return to their roles, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that key workers and members of their household can book tests online if they are showing symptoms of the virus.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning (April 24), the Health Secretary confirmed that the essential workers covered by the new scheme are the same as those who are eligible to send their children to school. The gov.uk website includes in its list ‘journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus or providing public service broadcasting’.

Hancock said the government has introduced 90 mobile testing units which key workers can book to visit if they are showing symptoms, or opt for a home-collection testing kit service.

As a result of expanded testing capacity to 50,000 patients a day, Hancock said key workers can now go online to book a test rather than the previous system of going via their employers to book testing.  

The Health Secretary said the “majority would get result in 48 hours” for those who have taken a swab in a drive-through clinic or within 72 hours for a home test. Hancock added that the result will go on the person’s medical records as proof.

In a statement on the gov.uk website the Health Secretary said, “We are making it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test.

“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 who need a test too. It’s all part of getting Britain back on her feet.”

The SoE has campaigned for the government to recognise the essential role of the media in keeping the nation informed during the pandemic and for financial provisions to be made to ensure its continued survival.

Visit the gov.uk website for more information on getting tested.

Picture: PA.