Swindon Borough Council is encouraging members of the pubic who have COVID-19 symptoms to register for a test following the expansion of the Government’s National Coronavirus Testing Programme.

From Monday (18 May), everyone in the UK who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 became eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus.

Where testing was previously reserved for key workers, health and social care staff and those over 65, it has now been expanded to include everybody over the age of five-years-old who is showing symptoms of the virus.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “This new expansion of the eligibility for coronavirus testing is welcome news and I would urge people in Swindon to apply for a test if they are showing symptoms.

“The Government’s ambition is to implement a national testing and tracing programme within a local delivery system, and we will work closely with our public sector partners to ensure that the local delivery system for Swindon is as good as it possibly can be.”

When people book a test online they will be given details about their closest testing site. There is also a postal test kit option.

The four UK Chief Medical Officers also announced on Monday (18 May) that anosmia – the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell or taste – has been added as a symptom of coronavirus.

This means that individuals need to self-isolate immediately – and will be eligible for a test – if they have a new continuous cough, or they have a high temperature, or they feel a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste.

All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.

People can register for a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, after checking their symptoms.

Testing spaces are limited, so the Council would encourage those that do book to attend.