Experts Explain UK May Help Lock Out Before Coronavirus Vaccine Discovery

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Containing the UK coronavirus outbreak could be the largest peacetime operation, two experts told the Mirror.

Former British government adviser Daniel Sleat and Ryan Wain are two of the authors of The Path to Mass Testing, a report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

This is a blueprint on how contact tracking can get countries out of the lockout.

Here they write exclusively in the Mirror and discuss the only way the UK could alleviate its coronavirus lockdown before a vaccine is found – something he was warned about today could be in for very many months.

The government has two choices. Stay in the lock and remove Covid-19 or exit the lock and contain the virus.



Chief physician Chris Whitty warned today that social distance will likely remain in place until next year

We believe that containment is possible, but only through mass testing and tracing.

This means that millions of us are tested regularly and – if we become positive – to be isolated from those who have come into contact with us.

It is a huge operation. Perhaps the largest in peacetime.



We don’t know when the lock will come up

So when Matt Hancock set a goal of 100,000 tests a day, it was ambitious, but it was only the beginning of what needed to be done.

The truth is that we will need a much higher number of tests available and an army of people to deliver them.

We will need technology that does not yet exist in Britain.


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The test numbers must be much higher and accompanied by the right strategy on which groups the government intends to deploy the tests.

We can look for inspiration abroad.

The Germans can test 700,000 a week and in South Korea they have flattened their infection curve through mass community testing and contact tracing.

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Coronavirus epidemic

They were better prepared than the UK.

It is essential that the structure of government change in these extraordinary times.

Tests are so important that a leading minister should supervise them, report directly to the Prime Minister, and have a team of the brightest minds in foreign policy who are experts in purchasing, logistics, and scaling great projects.

They should have the power to find every inch of laboratory space in the country and use it for testing.

This is what the famous Robert Koch Institute did in Germany.

Finally, the government has diverted its gaze from antibody tests.

These tell you if you have had the disease and act as a pregnancy kit.

By understanding who has had the disease and who is therefore immune at least in the short term, we can reduce the number of people who need to be tested and send them back to the front line.

The government cannot afford to fail this larger test.

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