The NHS has started testing people for coronavirus in their own homes in London. The new approach will be expanded to other areas outside the capital in the coming weeks.
Prof Keith Willett, the NHS strategic incident director for coronavirus, said: “We have started to pilot home testing for coronavirus in London, which will be carried out by NHS staff, like nurses or paramedics, allowing people to stay home rather than having to travel, which is safer for you and your family and limits the spread of infection.
“Anyone who is concerned they have signs and symptoms should continue to use NHS 111 as their first point of contact. They will tell you exactly what you need to do and, where necessary, the right place to be tested.
“People should also play their part by following public health advice: wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin immediately.
“I would also like to thank the NHS staff who are back in Arrowe Park [hospital] ready to provide excellent care and support to the British nationals who are returning from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.”
Dozens of Britons who have spent more than two weeks on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off the Japanese coast are preparing to return home this weekend. A repatriation flight for those quarantined on the ship, which was initially due to leave on Friday, will instead depart in the early hours of Saturday local time.
About 35 British nationals were confirmed as booked on the flight. A small number of EU citizens will also be on board, as well as UK government medics, sources said.
The passengers are due to land at the Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Only those without symptoms will be allowed to board the plane, and all the passengers will be taken to Arrowe Park in Wirral for 14 days of quarantine.