The NHS and care homes will be prioritised in new COVID-19 testing plans to be announced by the government.
Details of the plans will be published in the next few days, the BBC has revealed.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, told the House of Commons yesterday: “The top priority is and always has been acute clinical care. The next priority is social care, where we’re now sending over 100,000 tests a day because we’ve all seen the risks this virus poses in care homes.
“We’ll set out in full an updated prioritisation and I do not rule out further steps to make sure our tests are used according to those priorities.”
The promise of a programme comes after the government apologised earlier this month for failing to meet a pledge to provide care home test results within 72 hours with some services having to wait up to seven days.
The government issued a letter to care homes last Friday urging them to carry out weekly testing following a rise in infection rates across the country.
Councils across the country have announced restrictions on care home visits as COVID-19 infection rates have increased.
Care homes in Middlesborough, Redcar and Cleveland, and those in Walsall were the latest to be advised to suspend visits this week after spikes in local infections.