REPORTS over a rising number of deaths in Hampshire care homes have sparked calls for easy access to Covid-19 testing.

Cllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for adult care at Southampton City Council, is calling on the government to ensure that additional testing centres are rolled out in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The news comes as the city council has confirmed that there has been one death from Covid-19 at the only council-run care home Holcroft House.

The authority said there are “robust measures” in place to stop the spread of the virus.

The government has now announced that testing of all asymptomatic NHS and social care staff and care home residents is being rolled out.

But after data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday revealed there have been 183 Covid-19 related deaths in Hampshire care homes over the past two weeks, Cllr Fielker called for further action. She said: “We welcome the government’s announcement that even more essential workers, care home residents and workers will be able to access a Covid-19 test. However more needs to be done to ensure that areas in the south east of England, especially Southampton, which are being hardest hit by the virus have easy access to testing. The government, as a matter of urgency, needs to roll out more fixed and mobile testing centres to help stem the spread of the virus, keep everyone safe and help prevent the tragic loss of life we are seeing.”

The government has announced that anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65 and over will now be able to get tested. NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents will be eligible for testing whether or not they have symptoms. Packages of "satellite" test kits are being sent directly to care homes, the Department of Health and Social Care said.