A five-point plan to “press the accelerator” on coronavirus tests and reach 100,000 tests per day was ordered by Secretary of Health Matt Hancock today.
Responding to criticism of the slowness of testing so far, the government will make every effort to integrate commercial laboratories, research institutes and inventors to create brand new testing machines.
Returning to the front line of the battle against Covid-19 after a week of self-isolation after catching the disease himself, Hancock called meetings with heads of the NHS, Public Health England and others organizations involved in the plan.
“I’m going to step on the gas,” the health secretary told his allies. Sources said the tests were already at record levels for the UK in any pandemic, but that they “will now go further and faster”.
The five-point plan includes:
Accelerate current internal testing by Public Health England to ensure it reaches a target of 25,000 tests per day of patients and key NHS staff by the middle of this month. Earlier this week, the government suggested it could take until the end of the month or even May. The program has been criticized for only about 8,000 patients being tested daily out of a current capacity of 12,500, which means that thousands of tests have been lost.
A big boost to leverage the private sector by purchasing commercial swab tests as well as using hospital and research labs to process the results. Professor Paul Cosford of PHE said he will “give us 100,000 or more tests a day” in the coming weeks.
Deploy millions of new antibody tests for immunity, first revealed in the Standard last month. The Department of Health has purchased options on 17 million tests, including pregnancy test style sticks that deliver results in just 15 minutes. However, testing and validation of the kits is still in progress.
A giant population survey has now started, with thousands of people daily tested for antibodies to indicate they have had the disease, to create a giant database mapping how the virus has spread throughout the world. United Kingdom.
A call was launched last night by Mr. Hancock during a conference call with manufacturers, inventors and commercial developers asking them to urgently create significant diagnostic capacity in the UK to match German capacity well established, reflecting the successful lure for the industry of making new fans.
Among the signs of the plan’s start, the world-renowned Francis Crick Institute, Europe’s largest biomedical research center, at King’s Cross, has announced that it will change laboratories to test coronavirus among front-line staff from the NHS.
It will run 500 tests a day starting next week as part of a partnership with University College London Hospitals, with the goal of increasing that number to 2,000 per day and expanding it to other hospitals .
At the same time, the Edenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge has started testing bedside devices converted from HIV testing devices that can determine in 90 minutes if patients have Covid-19.
The ministers are desperate to get the upper hand after the headlines denounced the test figures as they are a “mess” and a “fiasco”. The number of positive tests for Covid-19 is expected to exceed 30,000 this afternoon, but perhaps hundreds of thousands are not diagnosed in the community.
Boris Johnson has released a video saying that testing is “the way” to resolve the crisis. However, the messages were mixed because an assistant chief medical officer of health declared that screening was a “secondary problem” and that social distancing measures were the real key to fighting the virus. Professor Cosford, medical director emeritus of PHE, admitted that “everyone involved is frustrated” by the low number of tests performed.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said the Office of Life Sciences works with universities and industries, “which will give us 100,000 or more tests per day. This work is ongoing. “
Investigations today revealed that businesses are running out of cash quickly, with almost a fifth warning, they only have enough money left for another month.
A survey by British chambers of commerce found that an additional 44% have sufficient reserves for one to three months. The same proportion expects to put at least half of its workforce on leave for next week, while 32% said they would cut between 75% and 100% of their staff.
Richard Burge, Managing Director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “With the liquidity running out, many have no choice but to put staff on leave while juggling d ” other difficult choices to reduce expenses so as not to go to the wall.
“In the London House, we hear from members who are not yet able to access the government-funded loan through the bank, and who also cannot access low-rate interim bank financing of interest or on appropriate terms. Government money simply does not flow quickly enough down the chain.
“Banks must demonstrate that they are serving the national cause. And the organizations that represent London’s financial institutions must call on them not to do enough. This includes the City of London Corporation. I want to see the chairman of the policy and resources committee and Lord Mayor demonstrate that they recognize that London and the economy of the whole country depend on the support and swift action of those in the capital’s financial sector. “