UK to roll out millions of rapid COVID tests after reviews


FILE PHOTO: Medical worker takes swab sample at drive-thru testing center, following a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases from visitors to a pub in Stone, Britain , July 29, 2020. REUTERS / Carl Recine

LONDON (Reuters) – Millions of COVID-19 tests capable of detecting the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out in Britain, the country’s health minister said on Monday, after criticizing the lack of tests, especially in retirement homes.

Last week, one of Britain’s largest care home providers, CareUK, said the government was unable to deliver on its promise to regularly test nursing home staff and residents after the discovery of problems with the kits currently in use.

Capacity will be boosted in hospitals, nursing homes and laboratories from next week, the government said on Monday, comprising 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither need to be administered by a healthcare professional.

“The fact that these tests can detect influenza as well as COVID-19 will be extremely beneficial as winter approaches, so that patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others,” said the minister. of Health, Matt Hancock.

“We’re on track to deliver half a million tests a day by the end of October, but new technologies like these will help us accelerate that,” he said.

Separately, the publicly funded National Health Service said it would offer “COVID-compatible” treatments to cancer patients, including drugs that do not have a great impact on the immune system.

Britain’s healthcare system has been put to the test during the peaks of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country, which has killed more than 46,000 people, the fourth highest death toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally collected on Monday .

Report by Costas Pitas; edited by Estelle Shirbon

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