Brits could soon be refused a coronavirus test ‘even if they have symptoms’

Brits could be refused coronavirus tests even if they have symptoms under new rationing plans.

Health officials have drawn up a "priority list" suggesting Covid-19 tests should only be made available to hospitals, care homes, certain key workers and schools, the Telegraph reports.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister admitted the UK's testing programme has "huge problems" after reports that the NHS Test and Trace scheme is struggling.

This week it was revealed that there were no tests available in England's 10 worst-hit virus hotspots.

There have been significant delays in getting results to positive cases, with just 8% of people tested this week receiving a positive result within a day, compared with 16% the week before.

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Ministers have said the system is getting bogged down with too many tests demanded by people with no symptoms who haven't been contacted by Test and Trace.

Officials said a quarter of the testing capacity was being taken up by those who don't meet eligibility requirements.

It's a significant U-turn from the Government's previous advice, which as late as last month was officially: "If in doubt, get a test."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he's reluctant to introduce eligibility tests because he wants people with symptoms to be able to get tested quickly.

But government sources have reportedly said they're considering limiting tests to only the most at-risk groups if such high levels of demand are to continue.

Those in "watchlist" areas with high infection rates, such as the North East which will see new restrictions from Friday, will be high on the list as well.

Brits living in areas without major outbreaks who want a test could find themselves out of luck, as could businesses.

"We are not yet at the stage of restricting access to tests for those who have symptoms," a source told the Telegraph.

"A quarter who come for tests aren't eligible as they are asymptomatic. So, before we do anything, we really want to deter this group."

"If we can do that, we may not need to restrict tests. But at the moment we are considering the options for what to do further down the road."

Hancock announced in the Commons today that new social distancing measures, including pub curfews, will be put in place in the North East.

"From tomorrow, in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham, residents should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble," he said.

"Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only and late night restrictions on operating hours will be introduced so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am."

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