NHS frontline workers in England will be tested this weekend to determine if they have coronavirus.
Workers with symptoms or those living with people who have symptoms are screened – starting with doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit.
There follows criticism of a lack of tests for health workers.
In the meantime, Prime Minister and Health Minister Matt Hancock isolate himself after testing positive for the virus.
55-year-old Boris Johnson said he had had mild symptoms in the past 24 hours, but would continue to direct the government's response to the pandemic while working from his Downing Street home. Mr. Hancock said that his symptoms were also mild and that he was working from home.
The number of people who died from the virus in the UK rose by 181 to 759 on Friday, with 14,543 cases confirmed.
At a press conference in Downing Street on Friday, cabinet minister Michael Gove said hundreds of antigen tests – to determine if people are currently suffering from the disease – would go to the front line this weekend.
He said the tests would be "dramatically expanded" next week and tests by rescue workers, paramedics and general practitioners are expected to follow. It will later be expanded to include social workers.
In Wales, NHS workers are already at the forefront of the virus, while the Scottish chief physician has confirmed a protocol to test "significant" numbers.
The analysis suggests that the infection rate in the UK has doubled every three to four days, Gove added.
Experts predict that the number of cases will continue to increase in the next two to three weeks before the effects of social distancing measures and everyday restrictions become apparent.
The government updated its exit guidelines to do sports before the weekend and urged people to use "open space" near their home whenever possible and not to travel unnecessarily.
In the meantime, the editor of the medical journal The Lancet has heavily criticized NHS officials for failing to heed China's warning signs of the pandemic – and said patients and NHS staff would die unnecessarily as a result.
Richard Horton, who has loudly criticized UK coronavirus emergency plans, said February should have been used to expand coronavirus testing, train staff, and ensure that sufficient personal protective equipment is available.
The BBC's medical correspondent, Fergus Walsh, says those at the top of the NHS and ministers strongly oppose such allegations and point out the tremendous amount of work being done to tackle the epidemic's challenge.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said the move to test NHS workers in England was "long overdue".
After doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit are tested, employees in emergency departments, paramedics and general practitioners are examined.
Prior to the announcement of tests to NHS staff, only seriously ill patients with flu-like symptoms were routinely tested for the virus in the hospital.
Around 6,000 people are currently being tested every day. The government plans to test 10,000 people a day by the end of March, and 25,000 by mid-April.
"For every healthy worker at home who needlessly isolates themselves if they don't have the virus, the NHS lacks someone who could provide vital front-line care to patients," said BMA chairman Dr. Chaand Nagpaul.
The first of three new laboratories is expected to start operating this weekend, initially processing around 800 samples, the government said.
The other two laboratories are currently being set up and will open shortly.
Dozens of universities, research institutes and companies lend their devices for use in the laboratories.
Samples are taken from various locations across the country, initially focusing on coronavirus hotspots such as London.
Dr. James Gill, a volunteer clinical lecturer at Warwick Medical School, said an antibody test – to determine if someone already had a coronavirus – could "revolutionize" the diagnosis and screening for Covid-19 by doing a "bedside rapid test." "offers that is not unlike pregnancy test or a diabetic's blood sugar test".
Earlier this week, the UK government's chief medical officer announced that the antibody tests were being developed.
Neither the Prime Minister's senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, nor Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was with the Prime Minister shortly before his positive corona virus test, had no symptoms and was therefore not tested.
The prime minister's fiance, Carrie Symonds, who is two months pregnant, isolates herself, although it is not known whether they still live together. Pregnant women in the third trimester It is recommended to be particularly strict If you follow the advice on social distancing and minimize social contact for up to 12 weeks.
The English chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, has also shown symptoms and is self-isolating at home.
In other developments:
- District councils warn residents that some services, such as recycling centers or adult education centers, will be significantly scaled back or stopped to prioritize protecting people from corona viruses
- The HCSA Hospital's doctors' association said potential health care issues should not delay the reported introduction of stricter guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment by NHS officials at the forefront
Police officers in England and Wales have fined people for ignoring the guidelines for preventing the spread of the corona virus.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned Londoners that there will be "a large number" of deaths and temporary burials will be set up across the capital.
Two new temporary hospitals are being established in Birmingham and Manchester to help the NHS cope with the virus
- According to the Ministry of Justice, 27 prisoners in 14 prisons were tested positive.
Italian restaurant chain Carluccio & # 39; s is on the brink of collapse after being warned that the coronavirus is closing the stores permanently.
- The Queen's birthday parade, Trooping the Color, will not take place in its usual form in June, and other options are being considered