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Helen Whately, the minister for care, has been speaking to Sky News. She said that more than 1,000 care workers had already been tested for coronavirus and more than 2,000 had been referred for tests. This contradicts what shadow care minister Liz Kendall said last night, that only 500 care staff had been tested to date. Whately said:
The testing is in progress. Over the next few days the Care Quality Commission is going to be phoning up nearly 30,000 care providers in order to identify who they need testing and start lining up people for tests.
We have been doing everything that we can to protect those really vulnerable people living in care homes or receiving care at home.
From the moment it looked like coronavirus was coming our way… we have been working really hard to do whatever we can to protect those receiving care from this truly awful, horrible illness.
In a government announcement made overnight they have pledged that all care home residents and social care staff with Covid-19 symptoms will be tested for the virus as capacity increases.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said he was determined to ensure that everyone needing a test should have access to one, with testing remaining a key part of the government’s coronavirus battle plan.
I am deeply conscious that people in residential care are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus. We are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe.
We have already begun testing social care workers and will roll this out nationwide over the coming days. And as we continue to ramp up our testing programme, we will test all current care home residents with coronavirus symptoms and all new care home residents who are discharged from hospital into care.