Essential workers and their families will now have access to COVID-19 testing.
The news was confirmed in the government's coronavirus conference on Thursday (23 April).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and Director of Health Improvement Professor John Newton also stated that the country is on track to hit the target of testing 100,000 people per day by the end of April.
Mr. Hancock said that testing capacity has already reached up to 50,000 and that patients, NHS staff and social care workers would receive priority testing.
"We can make it easier, simpler and faster for any essential worker," said the Health Minister.
"Employers of essential workers can now apply for a test for any employee that needs a test via gov.uk.
"This all applies for people in essential workers’ households too who need a test."
Essential workers showing symptoms will be able to book coronavirus tests online from Friday (April 24).
Once the applicant has filled out a details form, texts or emails will be sent inviting them to book an appointment at a drive-through centre (there are currently 28 of these facilities in the UK, although 50 will apparently be open by the end of the month).
There may also be an option to book a home testing kit which can be sent out to the recipient's address.
The government has also set up a testing helpdesk, with Army units offering support where needed.
Testing involves a quick swab of the nose and throat.
Those eligible to book a test include:
- NHS and social care workers
- Police officers
- Justice system staff
- Supermarket and food production workers
- Transport workers
A full list is available on the government website.