Great Britain

Families can hug loved ones in care homes with radical tests twice a week for relatives

Mr Johnson announced to MPs today that the tests, which give results in 30 minutes, are being deployed in the NHS and care homes. The Prime Minister added this would mean "people will once again be able to to hug and hold hands with loved ones instead of waving at them through a window". He said that by the end of the year every care home resident will have two visitors who can be tested twice a week. 

Care workers looking after people in their own homes will be offered weekly tests starting immediately.

Mr Johnson added that weekly tests will also be available for staff in prisons, food manufacturing and those delivering and administering covid vaccines from December. 

He added that testing will also allow students to go home safely for Christmas.

Mr Johnson said: "But there is another way of using these rapid tests.

Boris Johnson announced new measures for England after the lockdown

Boris Johnson announced new measures for England after the lockdown (Image: GETTY)

"That is to use the example of Liverpool where in the last two and half weeks over 200,000 people have taken part in community testing contributing to a very substantial fall in infections.

"So together with NHS Test and Trace and our fantastic Armed Forces we will now launch a major community testing programme offering all local authorities in Tier 3 areas in England a six week surge of testing.

"The system is untried and there are many unknowns but if it works we should be able to offer those who test negative the prospect of fewer restrictions - for example meeting up in certain places with others who have also tested negative."

Mr Johnson added the testing could extend to the whole of England from the start of next year if it works. 

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He said: "We will use daily testing to ease another restriction that has impinged on many lives.

"We will seek to end automatic isolation of close contacts of those found positive.

"Beginning in Liverpool later this week, contacts who are tested every day for a week will only need to isolate if they themselves test positive.

"If successful this approach will be extended across the health system next month and to the whole of England from January.

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Boris Johnson announced tier restrictions will be brought in again

Boris Johnson announced tier restrictions will be brought in again (Image: EXPRESS)

"We are of course working with the devolved administrations to ensure that Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland also benefit from these advances in rapid testing."

Mr Johnson also announced the UK will return to the tier measures after lockdown ends on December 2.

They could potentially run until the end of March when vaccines and wider testing might be more readily available. 

But the Prime Minister warned people should not expect Christmas to be normal this year, despite the lockdown being eased. 

He said: "This will be still a hard winter, Christmas cannot be normal and there is a long road to spring.

"But we have turned a corner and the escape route is in sight.

"We must hold out against the virus until testing and vaccines come to our rescue and reduce the need for restrictions."

Mr Johnson added a further announcement is expected to be made on Thursday to explain which areas will fall into which tier. 

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