Coronavirus testing: What is Matt Hancock’s five pillar coronavirus testing plan?
Coronavirus cases in the UK have reached 33,718, while 2,921 people have died so far. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is “pressing the accelerator” on coronavirus testing to reach 100,000 tests a day. Coronavirus testing is deemed paramount to stopping the deadly infection in its tracks. But what is Matt Hancock’s five point plan?
Matt Hancock announced significant increases in testings across the UK in the daily news conference on Thursday.
The Health Secretary returned to work after seven days of self isolation.
More than 10,000 tests are now being carried out in England every day, the Department of Health announced today.
However, this is short of the number of tests conducted in Germany which surpasses 50,000 each day.
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The current testing capacity or inpatient care in England currently stands at 12,799 tests per day.
In total, 10,657 tests were carried out yesterday in England on April 1 on 7,771 people.
The Government has come under mounting pressure to increase testing.
It started testing frontline NHS staff on Friday and more drive-through centres have been set-up since then.
What is Matt Hancock’s coronavirus five point plan?
Mr Hancock announced his five point plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.
The plan includes:
- Accelerating Public Health England in-house testing to hit the 25,000 target.
- Using the private sector to buy up commercial swab tests.
- Roll out new antibody tests for immunity.
- Conduct a giant survey of the population.
- A call to manufacturers, inventors and commercial developers to assist the UK’s diagnostic capability.
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The in-house testing target seeks to hit the targert of 25,000 tests a day of patients and key NHS workers by the middle of April.
The Government wants to use the private sector to buy uo commercial swab tests along with using hospital snd research sector labs to process the results to enable the UK to undertake 100,000 more tests a day over the coming weeks.
Antibody tests are important to recognise those who have had the virus and therefore have some immunity against the virus.
The Department of Health has bought options on 17 million tests, including pregnancy test-style sticks that give a result in just 15 minutes, but testing and validation of these kits is still underway.
Surveying the population
The Health Secretary has revealed plans to undertake a giant survey of the population.
This surery is already underway with thousands of people being tested for antibodies each day, creating a database mapping the manner in which the virus has spread across the UK.
On Wednesday night, a call to manufacturers, inventors and commercial developers for their assistance in creating a major UK diagnostic capability to match the well-established German capability was undertaken.
This call to arms closely matched the Government’s call for help to companies to make and provide new ventilators.
The plan has already shown signs of getting underway, with the world renowned Francis Crick Institute, Europe’s largest biomedical research centre, in King’s Cross revealing it was switching its laboratories to test for coronavirus in frontline NHS staff.
The laboratories will undertake 500 tests a day from next week, with the aim of reaching 2,000 tests a day and expanding out to other hospitals.
Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s hospital has started testing bedside machines converted from HIV testing apparatus which can determine whether someone has COVID-19 in 90 minutes.
Speaking on Thursday, the Health Secretary said the government is committed to carrying out 25,000 tests every day by the end of April and said every single patient who needs a test will have one.
He added that a brand new swab testing capacity is being made available with a private partnership – Boots and Amazon.
Mr Hancock said he wants to reach 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.
To reach this goal, he added the government is working with nine companies on antibody tests and said the pharmaceutical industry is rising to the challenge.
The Health Secretary said an ultra high accuracy antibody test has been developed at Porten Down to ensure they can undertake surveillance of who has had the virus which will inform the government of how to go forward.
Mr Hancock said: “I am determined we will get there.”
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