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Coronavirus : NHS to ramp up testing capacity

With the number of UK coronavirus cases set to rise, NHS England says it is scaling up its capacity for testing people for the infection.

It means 10,000 tests a day can be done – 8,000 more than the 1,500 being carried out currently.

Confirmation of any positive test results will be accelerated, helping people take the right action to recover or quickly get treatment.

Most of the people tested should get a result back within 24 hours.

Public Health England has already carried out more than 25,000 tests across the UK.

According to the latest figures, those tests have revealed 373 confirmed UK cases as of 09:00 GMT on Tuesday. Six people who tested positive for the Covid-19 disease have died in British hospitals.

These have been older people with underlying health conditions.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be expected to roll out their own testing services, but there will be some shared capacity between nations, depending on need.

NHS chief scientific officer Prof Dame Sue Hill said the health service was preparing to cope with more coronavirus cases.

“Every hospital across the country, and the healthcare professionals who run them, are now actively planning to respond flexibly to manage new demand.

“The public can help us to help the country to stay safe by practising good hygiene and washing their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds.”

England’s deputy chief medical officer has defended the decision to delay closing schools and introducing other stringent measures to help stop the spread of the virus.

Dr Jenny Harries said experts were assessing new cases on an hourly basis to achieve a “balanced response”, supported by science.

Meanwhile, GPs have expressed concerns about a lack of advice and protective equipment for them to best treat potential coronavirus patients.

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BBC News – Health

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