May 30, 2020

Coronavirus: Hospitals urged to use lab space to test NHS staff

Hospitals should use spare laboratory space to test self-isolating NHS staff in England for coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The government faces growing criticism over a lack of testing for frontline staff who could return to work if found clear of the virus.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove admitted the UK had to go “further, faster” to increase testing.

It came as a 13-year-old boy from south London with coronavirus died.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton in south London, is thought to be the youngest reported victim of the disease in the UK.

His family, who said they were “beyond devastated” by his death, said Ismail had no apparent underlying health conditions and tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day after he was admitted to hospital.

It has also been confirmed that a “healthy” 19-year-old with coronavirus died shortly after arriving at North Middlesex Hospital on 24 March.

The latest daily death toll in the UK rose sharply to 381, taking the overall number of deaths to 1,789, as of 17:00 BST on Monday.

Mr Gove described the rise as “deeply shocking”, adding that “now is absolutely not the time for people to imagine there can be any relaxation or slackening” of lockdown measures.

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