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ALL NHS workers should immediately be tested for coronavirus, Labour MP and practising doctor Rosena Allin-Khan said today.
Her call came as Cabinet minister Michael Gove refused to give a timeline for the testing of NHS and social-care workers.
He said that the government hoped to “be able to test as many front-line workers at the earliest possible stage.”
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Friday that testing of staff will begin to be “rolled out” this week.
He made the announcement as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both revealed that they had contracted the virus and were tested by the NHS.
Ms Allin-Khan, who is working night shifts in A&E at St George’s Hospital in south London, said she was “really disappointed” by Mr Gove’s remarks.
She said: “[NHS workers] are the people who are at the front line. These are people who need to know whether or not they have the virus or not.
“It is absolutely urgent that NHS and care staff are tested and they have access to testing immediately.”
Ms Allin-Khan, a candidate in Labour’s deputy leadership election, has also urged everyone to take the spread of the virus more seriously.
The NHS confirmed that 13 out of the 260 deaths announced on Saturday were of people with no underlying health problems.
The Tooting MP branded Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock “irresponsible” for saying that they will self-isolate for only a week.
She noted that the World Health Organisation advice is for people with apparent symptoms of the virus to self-isolate for 14 days.
Mr Johnson, who claims to be working from home while experiencing “mild symptoms,” is writing to every household to say that they “must” stay at home during the “national emergency.”
His letter says: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better.
“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”
When Mr Gove was asked whether the lockdown will extend until June, he replied that the duration of the measures is not “absolutely fixed.”
He said: “There are different projections as to how long the lockdown might last,” adding that it “depends on all of our behaviour.”
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