HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS in England has the capacity to conduct 161,000 tests a day, telling the Downing Street briefing: "Because of that increased capacity, I can announce that we're expanding eligibility yet further.

"From tomorrow, we're expanding eligibility for testing to include the under-5s so that every single person who has symptoms of coronavirus can get a test, no matter their age."

Mr Hancock appeared in front of a new lectern slogan, which read "NHS Test and Trace", as he confirmed further details on the UK's approach.

He said the test and trace scheme is the start of replacing the national lockdown with "individual isolation" for those who have been in contact with the coronavirus, along with "local action where it's necessary to respond to a flare up".

Mr Hancock said: "This system will start tomorrow morning at 9am.

"And the first people who will be contacted will be the people who received a positive result today.

"This is a very distinct change on our approach."

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • Another 10 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the North-East and North Yorkshire. Figures published on Wednesday afternoon revealed a total of 1,592 Covid-19 patients had now died in the region.
  • Taylor Wimpey North Yorkshire has donated almost 7,000 items of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to two Stockton-on-Tees care homes, providing vital supplies to help the nation’s fight against Covid-19.
  • A North-East company has welcomed the government announcement that car showrooms can re-open from Monday as part of the move to phase two of Covid-19 restrictions. Simon Bailes Peugeot – with dealerships in Northallerton, Stockton and Guisborough – is already preparing to unfurlough sales staff and is investing in a vehicle sanitiser machine to reinforce its stringent safety procedures.
  • Conservative former MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has added to calls that Dominic Cummings must be sacked. Dr Wollaston, who previously chaired the Liaison Committee, told ITV's Good Morning Britain that she would urge Boris Johnson "unequivocally" to sack Mr Cummings - who is the Prime Minster's chief adviser - over his trip to Durham from London.
  • Halfords said it plans to reopen 53 stores to customers for the first time since lockdown as bosses expect a surge in customers wanting to get behind the wheel of cars that have been unused for several weeks. The company has been allowed to remain open throughout lockdown but instead shut stores and operated online and from store car parks instead.
  • Bakery chain Greggs hopes to open around 800 of its stores in the middle of next month. The pasty and sausage roll outlets are expected to start serving customers up and down the country in June.
  • Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said it is time to "move on" from the scandal over Dominic Cummings' trip to Durham. Asked if he believes Mr Cummings should resign, Mr Jenrick told the BBC's Breakfast programme: "No, he shouldn't. He has given his explanation to the Prime Minister, who listened and concluded that he'd acted reasonably and legally. The Prime Minister then asked him to give that statement on Monday to the public and to answer questions from journalists, he answered them for over an hour and now, I think, is the time for us all to move on. That's not to say this isn't an important issue or that people don't care about it, but I think there's a lot more that we need to focus on now."
  • More than 50 fines were issued under the coronavirus regulations in North Yorkshire over the bank holiday weekend. North Yorkshire Police said it had also issue more than 30 traffic offence reports to motorists who blocked the Sheep-wash and Cod Beck area at Osmotherley. Officers said there were more than 50 cars double-parked along the road, blocking the path of emergency service vehicles. The majority of the vehicles had travelled from the Cleveland area, said a spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police and more than 30 motorists were issued with traffic offence reports for blocking the highway. A spokesperson said 52 fines were issued in total under the coronavirus regulations, including 39 in the Scarborough area, four in Harrogate, four in Selby, two in York, two in Craven and one in Hambleton.
  • Members of a Darlington art class have been painting portraits of NHS workers. The artists, who attend a weekly class at the Bridge Centre for Visual Arts, have completed more than 20 portraits of people working at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. Joanne Pickering, who teaches the class, decided to get involved in the national NHS portrait project to show appreciation for frontline workers, including her sister Katy Gofton, who works in the ICU there.
  • The witness who reported seeing Dominic Cummings in Barnard Castle says he has some regrets about speaking out but still believes the information needed to be made public. Retired chemistry teacher Robin Lees told BBC Radio Newcastle he felt vindicated when the Downing Street adviser admitted in his extraordinary news conference that he had visited the County Durham market town.
  • The tourism industry in the North-East and Yorkshire is calling for support is it moves towards what would usually be its busiest time of the year. Tourism bosses say many businesses are unlikely to be able to operate at full capacity for months and have urged the Government to continue to support the industry until businesses can trade profitably.
  • Dominic Cummings’ infamous journey to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight has put the town firmly on the map – and not in the way everyone would have wanted. Barney people are still getting over the national media wrongly calling their town Castle Barnard and Bernard Castle. Some believe there is no such thing as bad publicity and more visitors will be attracted as a result. But they all agree that outsiders, as tempted as outsiders may be to visit, should stay away until it is safe.
  • South Korea reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections in weeks on Wednesday and India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,000 cases, as the pandemic expanded its grip across much of the globe.
  • An eight-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus has hit his fundraising target after delighting his online followers with scores of piano tunes chosen by those who donate. Lennie Street, from Morley, West Yorkshire, cannot stand or walk independently but loves music and decided to challenge himself during lockdown to play 100 songs picked by his supporters. He has had thousands of views on his social media accounts as he tried and mastered everything from Beethoven to Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder.
  • Durham County Council has provided further information to schools on plans for phased reopening, saying June 15 is a "more realistic" date for the process to begin. The authority has released the information after new scientific advice was published on Friday and "due to concerns that key issues outside of its control have not yet been resolved". The advice from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), says there is "a consensus that evidence on the role of children in transmission of Covid-19 is unclear with a number of gaps in understanding".
  • Three Conservative MPs have said 'none' of them would have made the same decision that saw Dominic Cummings complete a 260-mile journey to County Durham. Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and North West Durham MP Richard Holden said they believed Mr Cummings's actions had been 'motivated' by his desire as a parent.
  • Confirmed cases in the North East and North Yorkshire: County Durham - 1,976, Darlington - 375, Stockton - 566, Hartlepool - 322, Middlesbrough - 670, Redcar and Ckeveland - 413, North Yorkshire - 1,281, York - 450, Newcastle - 1,046, North Tyneside - 566, South Tyneside - 739, Sunderland - 1,375, Northumberland - 932, Gateshead - 999.