Fears key workers could miss out on coronavirus tests because of lack of online eligibility checks

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “As with many other aspects of the coronavirus response, we would expect the public to respond in good faith. That is what they have done with other aspects of the scheme – I think we’d expect it to be the same here.”

Asked whether the system was “taking it on trust”, the spokesman said: “As I say, the public’s response so far on coronavirus has been excellent. Obviously, we would expect it to be the same when it comes to testing.”

The prospect of key workers missing out on tests because of an absence of checks raised alarms on Friday.

Professor Martin Green, the chairman of Care England, the charity representing the care industry, said: “Care home staff should be a priority for corona testing and, if we see that they are not able to be tested, this will be of great concern.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary, said: “We urgently need to be reassured that health workers and care workers who really need these tests are not being pushed to the back of the queue.

“The fact the website crashed in minutes reveals the extent of the demand that ministers should have prepared for. Questions will need answering as to why this happened, what mechanisms are in place to ensure everyone who needs a test gets one quickly and whether a workable tracing strategy is being prepared.”

The Government is planning to increase the number of home testing kits made available to 18,000 by next week. 

Under the scheme, its testing website gives users two options – either to book a drive-through slot or to apply for a home testing kit which is delivered by courier and then picked up after the swab test is completed.

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