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Expert says 100,000 tests a day ‘critical’ to end lockdown

by LLB Reporter
27th Apr 20 12:19 pm

A government scientific advisor has said that up to 100,000 coronavirus tests will be needed with widespread testing and tracing strategy to end the lockdown.

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), who are advising ministers, said this will be a “real logistical challenge” for the government.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “The test and trace capabilities are really going to be critical as we come out of lockdown.

“We will have to be able to test all those people (declaring via apps that they are displaying symptoms) and it is really a matter of scale and speed.

“One issue is how many tests we need, and if we are looking at 1,000 to 5,000 new cases per day of people with symptoms, of which maybe 5%-25% may have Covid, then you are talking about 25,000 to 100,000 tests per day.

“It is a real logistical challenge. But there is also the issue of speed as well.

“It is not much use getting the results five days later, you need it quickly so you can take the appropriate action and advise people to stay at home and also their contacts to stay at home to reduce transmission.”

The national medical director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis said on Saturday “there was a little bit of concern” as the warm weather is drawing large crowds in public spaces.

Professor Powis warned, “It won’t take much for this virus to start increasing its transmission again and to spread more widely.”

He added, “It would be foolish and not right if we lost the benefits that we have gained over the last four weeks, which I know have been hard for everybody.

“So, it’s really important that despite the weather, we stay at home, we keep to the guidelines that we’ve been issued with.”

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