Coronavirus: Commuters temperature checks considered as part of lockdown easing

A woman in a mask travels in a train at Marylebone Underground station Credit: Luciana Guerra/PA

Commuters in the UK could be asked to check their temperature at home before travelling under plans being considered by the Government to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson said he will outline a “road map” to easing some of the restrictions next week, but there are concerns that people returning to work could lead to the spread of the disease on public transport.

The Times reported that commuters could be asked to take their temperature before travelling. Those who have a high temperature, a symptom of coronavirus, would be expected to remain at home.

A senior Government official said the plans were under consideration but said there was a “long way” to go before it was implemented as an official policy.

Other countries, including South Korea, which has been praised for its containment of the virus, use temperature checks as part of its disease management.

A bus driver wearing a face mask. Credit: PA

How and when does Britain leave lockdown?

Much has been made of the next phase of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Government has repeatedly said it is too early to discuss any easing of measures, but Mr Johnson said on Wednesday more details could be given next week. A review into lockdown measures is also due next week.

One of the key ways which experts believe that lockdown measures could be eased is through the use of increased testing.

Some commuters trains have been empty during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said his target for 100,000 coronavirus tests per day had been met.

The number of people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday rose to 27,510.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock said 122,347 tests were performed in the 24 hours up to 9am on Friday, adding that testing would help “unlock” the UK’s lockdown.

But questions have been raised over how the tests have been counted, with changes in the last few days meaning newer home test kits have been counted as they are dispatched.

The overall total also includes tests dispatched to “satellite testing locations” – such as hospitals that have a particularly urgent need – but does not detail whether the tests have actually been used.

Coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals in England Credit: PA Graphics

When he set the target, Mr Hancock said the UK “will carry out” 100,000 tests every day by the end of April.

The Government’s national testing co-ordinator, Professor John Newton, told reporters there had been “no change” to the methodology but said advice had been sought on counting as “new ways of delivering tests” were brought in.

He said: “There has been no change to the way that tests are counted.

“As we’ve developed new ways of delivering tests we’ve taken advice from officials as to how this should be counted.

“So, the tests that are within the control of the programme, which is the great majority, are counted when the tests are undertaken in our laboratories.

“But any test which goes outside the control of the programme, they’re counted when they leave the programme, so that is the tests that are mailed out to people at home and the tests which go out in the satellite.

“So that is the way they are counted, have always been counted, and the way we were advised to count them by officials.”

He said some 27,497 kits sent out to homes were included in the total alongside 12,872 tests delivered to satellite locations.

Guidance on the Government website appears to have changed on April 28 to include wording saying home tests and satellite tests were being included.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said “many would have expected the 100,000 promise to have been met by actually carrying out testing, not simply because 39,000 kits had been mailed out”.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know