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UK coronavirus news – live: Testing posing ‘real challenges’, minister admits as harsher measures could come in

A coronavirus test is deposited at a mobile Covid-19 testing centre in Peterborough.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland has admitted the government is facing “real challenges” with coronavirus testing, as he suggested schoolchildren and their parents would be the next testing priority after NHS and social care workers.  

It comes as people opted to turn up to hospital A&Es yesterday in a bid to get a Covid-19 test because of a lack of available bookings through the online system. 

A minister has suggested the government will wait two weeks to see whether the new “rule of six” is effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19 before considering tougher social distancing measures, according to ITV’s Robert Peston. 

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Harsher measures could come if ‘rule of six’ fails

A minister has suggested the government will wait two weeks to see whether the new “rule of six” is effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19 before considering tougher social distancing measures, according to ITV’s Robert Peston. 

New restrictions were introduced in England on Monday banning groups of more than six people from mingling indoors or outdoors.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the new rules were being introduced to combat the rising number of coronavirus cases and to prevent another “wholesale national lockdown”.

And a senior member of government has now told ITV’s Robert Peston ministers will give the new rules two weeks before assessing whether they have done enough to curb the spread of the virus.

Chiara Giordano16 September 2020 08:06

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Government facing ‘real challenges’ with coronavirus testing

Justice secretary Robert Buckland has said the government is facing “real challenges” with coronavirus testing and suggested schoolchildren and their parents would be the next testing priority after NHS and social care workers.

It comes as people opted to turn up to hospital A&Es yesterday in a bid to get a Covid-19 test because of a lack of available bookings through the online system.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “I think laboratory capacity has been an issue, we’re working our way through that, we’re increasing the number of test centres – we’ve got 400 test centres, getting it up to 500 – but clearly there are still real challenges.

“I think the announcement by (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock yesterday to create a prioritisation system is the right thing to do.

“He is going to develop that very quickly over the next few days, to explain to us what that looks like but I think… it has to be the NHS first and then social care.

“And then I think what we need to do is have a cascading system where we know where our priority should be and for me priority should be for children in school and their parents in order to ensure their lives are safe and also importantly they are not disrupted in the way we are seeing.”

Chiara Giordano16 September 2020 08:00

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Good morning and welcome to today’s coronavirus live blog. We’ll be bringing you rolling updates and statistics on the pandemic throughout the day.

Chiara Giordano16 September 2020 07:59

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