Health workers on the frontline in England will start being tested this weekend to see if they have coronavirus, the government has announced.
Tests will be rolled out to critical care doctors and nurses first followed by staff in emergency departments, paramedics and GPs.
It follows mounting criticism from NHS staff over a lack of testing.
Currently, only seriously-ill patients in hospital are being tested.
At the daily press conference on the virus epidemic, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said antigen testing – which checks whether people currently have the disease – would give health and social care workers “security in the knowledge that they are safe to return to work if their test is negative”.
He added: “These tests will be trialled for people on the frontline starting immediately, with hundreds to take place by the end of the weekend – dramatically scaling up next week.”