MATT Hancock today warned Brits that getting a coronavirus test won't get them out of a two-week isolation.
The Health Secretary said too many people were ordering tests to get out of having to isolate – which won't work as the virus can incubate.
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Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, he warned there were two misconceptions around the spread of the virus that "aren't helpful".
He said: "One is that people feel really naturally that they are more likely to catch this from a stranger, from somebody they don't know.
"But, actually, most people catch it from somebody they know, and know well.
"And, the second thing is that if you have been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive you need to self-isolate for two weeks.
"It doesn't matter whether you get a test result in that time because the virus incubates, you can't then be released from that self-isolation.
"So, the self-isolation rules are so important as part of this and it is vital that people follow them."
The Health Secretary earlier today refused to rule out a second national lockdown amid fears cases are are high as 38,000 a day.
Scientists advising the government are already flagging that a second, two-week national lockdown may be needed to circuit break the spread of the deadly bug.
Up to 10 million Brits have already been plunged into fresh local lockdowns in regions throughout the UK.
It comes as ministers come under fire over the NHS Test and Trace system, which has seen up to four times the number of people trying to book a test as the number of tests available.
The Telegraph today reported one million people a day are applying for 230,000 available tests.
Mr Hancock has previously hit out at holidaymakers, saying they had triggered the test shortages.
He said about 25 per cent of people who came forward for a test were not eligible, saying "We have seen this quite sharp rise in the last couple of weeks of people without symptoms who don't have a good reason coming forward to get a test.
"There have been stories of whole schools, or parts of schools, being all sent to get a test – that is not acceptable, that is not an appropriate use of our testing resources.
"I've even heard stories of people saying, 'I'm going on holiday next week therefore I'm going to get a test.' No – that is not what the testing system is there for.”
And experts have told parents not to get the virus test for child children with the sniffles.
Meanwhile, hundreds of drinkers hit the town for a last boozy night out before the North East was put into lockdown.
Greater Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester have also been plunged into lockdown or given restrictions that limit households mixing and curfews.
Merseyside and Lancashire – apart from Blackpool – are also expected to be hit with a North East-style lockdown, it has emerged.
Boris Johnson hasn't ruled out another national shutdown – although with the increasing number of lightning lockdowns across many regions, much of the country is already living with enforced changes.
Warning a second national lockdown would be “disastrous”, the PM said on Wednesday: “I don’t want a second national lockdown.
“I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.”
UK coronavirus cases rose yesterday by 3,395 with 21 more deaths – as test shortages strike across the country.
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