UK pledges to test all residents and nursing home staff with symptoms of coronavirus

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LONDON – Britain promised on Wednesday to test all residents and employees of nursing homes with symptoms of COVID-19 after official data showed the number of deaths from the pandemic was much higher when elderly people in care were included.

At the moment, Britain is testing the first five residents who have symptoms, but Health Minister Matt Hancock has said it will increase as the laboratory’s capacity is increased.

“Screening is key to our fight against coronavirus, and as part of our plan to prevent the spread and save lives, we will ensure that all those in social care who need a test can do it, “he said.

The expansion is part of the government’s plans to increase the number of tests to 100,000 per day by the end of the month after being criticized for not going as far as countries like Germany.

The National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday that 5,979 people in England died on April 3 with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, mentioned on their death certificates – 15% more than the figures released by the service health.

Daily figures released by the Ministry of Health only record deaths in hospital and do not include deaths in the community as in nursing homes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration is also facing calls from the opposition Labor Party to detail this week its plan to lift the foreclosure measures, which has shut down much of the economy in the past three weeks and should be reviewed on Thursday.

“Talking about an exit strategy before reaching the top risks blurring the critical message that people have to stay at home to protect our National Health Service (NHS) and save lives,” said a government source. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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