November 23, 2020

Mass roll out of new £5 Covid tests could see UK return to normal in weeks – Mirror Online

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mass-roll-out-new-5-22996556

New £5 pregnancy-style coronavirus tests which produce results in minutes could pave the way for millions of Brits to return to normal life in weeks.

The inexpensive DIY kits have proved 95 percent accurate at picking up infections and could be a game changer in the fight against the pandemic.

It would mean daily “freedom passes”, allowing for people to return to football stadiums and live gigs, as well as giving a vital shot in the arm to the ailing night club industry.

A Government source told The Sun that resultant on-the-spot checks of people’s Covid status would also “help us to get towards a normal life in spring”.

Pubs would be allowed to re-open as normal
(Image: Getty Images)

Hundreds of thousands of mass testing Covid tests will be rolled out in 67 towns and cities across the UK allowing for results in just 15 minutes.

While the Government will green light the shipping out of millions more if a pilot scheme testing everyone in Liverpool – one of the worst hit areas – proves successful.

It would see a huge proportion of the country receiving results who have previously never been tested, with scientists estimating it could reduce the transmission rate by 90 percent.

People could return to live gigs
(Image: Redferns)

Professor Sir John Bell, part of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said: “These inexpensive, easy to use tests can play a major role in our fight against Covid-19.

“They identify those who are likely to spread the disease and when used systematically in mass testing could reduce transmissions by 90 per cent.

“They will be detecting disease in large numbers of people who have never previously even received a test.”

Football stadiums could be filled with fans for the first time in months
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Sir John, the outgoing chairman of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research, has also predicted Britain could have two or three vaccines available by Christmas.

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab – which hasn’t yet passed regulator tests – has been shown to effectively prevent the virus in 90 percent of cases during trials in a major vaccine break through.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca alternative is understood to be just a few weeks behind.

Professor Sir John Bell

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the nation this week that a vaccine breakthrough isn’t the end of the UK’s pandemic nightmare.

But he did later tell the Commons a potential vaccine and more effective testing would arm the UK with “two boxing gloves to pummel the disease”.

On Tuesday Britain recorded 595 deaths, the biggest toll since May, with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warning any potential vaccine won’t stem the current wave of infections.

Frontline workers, as well as the elderly and vulnerable are to be the first to receive any approved vaccine, however, some Brits have voiced concerns about taking any jab that has been produced within a matter of months.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and flu expert Jonathan Van-Tam said if it is approved it will be safe and he has encouraged his 78-year-old mum to “take this up”.

Mr Johnson has also said he would be happy to have a vaccine.