A further 600,000 lateral flow tests to be sent out this week to kick-start the significant expansion of testing, followed by weekly local allocations, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.
Test kits will be issued to over 50 directors of public health across England this week, to enable local teams to direct and deliver community testing based on their local knowledge. Each will receive a batch of 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices as part of a new pilot to enable them to start testing priority groups.
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‘Last week we rolled out mass testing in Liverpool using new, rapid technology so we can detect this virus quicker than ever before, even in people who don’t have symptoms. Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock.
‘I am delighted to say 10,000 of these tests will now be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to over 50 directors of public health as part of our asymptomatic testing strategy. I want to thank all directors of public health for their support and efforts over the past months to help us tackle this virus, bring it under control and get the country back to what we love doing.’
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The news comes as it was announced that a new vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech can prevent more than 90% of people from getting COVID-19. The UK should get 10 million doses by the end of the year, with a further 30 million doses already ordered.
‘If this or any other vaccine is approved, we will be ready to begin a large-scale vaccination programme,’ said Mr Hancock, speaking in Parliament.
‘We do not yet know whether or when a vaccine is approved, but I have tasked the NHS with being ready from any date from 1 December.’