U.S. government says coronavirus virus testing will prioritize medical staff, elderly

The U.S. federal government’s effort to rapidly expand testing for the coronavirus will initially focus on screening health care workers and the elderly, Trump administration officials said Sunday.

Members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force attempted to flesh out their plan to screen thousands of Americans for the virus amid growing frustration about lack of access to tests and confusion about who should get them.

Priority for testing would go to medical professionals and senior citizens with viral symptoms, officials said, in an effort to avoid “paralyzing” the U.S. health system.

“It’s important the tests are available for the people who are most in need and our health care workers and first responders that are helping and supporting them,” Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House.

The retooled plan came two days after Trump previewed a nationwide network of drive-thru testing sites at chains like WalMart and Target linked by a Google-designed website.

But after Trump’s speech Google executives clarified that their efforts were still in “early stages” and retail giants said they were still working to identify space for testing.

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