Care home coronavirus test trial raises hopes for visiting loved ones


A pilot project to test selected visitors to care homes for coronavirus will begin on Monday, No 10 has confirmed.

The scheme is designed to let people meet loved ones indoors.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the system would be trailed in 30 homes.

It is not immediately clear which 30 care homes woulf be part of the trial.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Our priority is protecting care home staff and residents but we do know just how important it is to let residents safely meet their loved ones.

“From Monday we are launching testing pilots across 30 care homes.

“That will be using various PCR tests and the new lateral flow tests to allow specific families and friends to undertake indoor visits to residents.”

The testing is designed to bring peace of home to care homes who have restricted visits – fearful that the public could bring the virus into a home.



The system will rely on new fast tests – which can give a result in just minutes

Staff already receive regular tests.

An estimated 654,000 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between October 31 and November 6, the ONS said.

This is the equivalent of around 1.20% of the population.

It came as top scientists suggested that the reproduction number for coronavirus – the R value – is dropping across the UK and is potentially below one in some areas, according to scientists.

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Mr Johnson’s spokesman confirmed the trial would begin next week

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government, said the R for the UK stood at 1-1.2, with its current prediction representing the situation over the last few weeks.

Experts believe the R value is below one in some places, particularly in Wales and potentially parts of Scotland and the north west of England.

It is hoped that R will drop in more places next week or the week after, as people remain under lockdown restrictions.

If the R value is above one then the Covid-19 epidemic continues to grow, but if it is below one it shows the outbreak is in retreat.

For the past few weeks, Sage has put the R value at between 1.1 and 1.3.





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