Authorities caution against buying Covid-19 testing kits

Authorities caution against buying Covid-19 testing kits

Authorities caution against buying Covid-19 testing kits

Local authorities and the government have cautioned the public against buying Covid-19 home testing kits, as scams related to the virus are on the rise, and the tests are largely unreliable.

After Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the test kits as a potential “game changer,” the government have ordered some 17.5m antibody home testing kits.

But, scientists warned that these tests are unreliable, and that they may fail to detect up to half of Covid-19 cases.

Subsequently, the government have withdrawn the testing scheme, and admitted that none of the 17.5m test kits it bought will help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ministers had hoped that the tests would give a much clearer picture about how many people had been infected, paving the way for an eventual easing of lockdown restrictions.

The failure of the tests is a significant setback and suggests Britain may be further away than previously thought from being able to effectively launch mass testing.

This comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock set a target of testing 100,000 per day, as the UK government have been repeatedly criticised for their failure to test both NHS staff and the wider community. Hancock said:

“I am now setting the goal of 100,000 tests per day by the end of this month. That is the goal, and I am determined we’ll get there.

“These are unprecedented times for our healthcare system, and I want to make sure that every part of it is supported.

“I therefore made £300m available for funding for community pharmacies, who do so much to get vital medicines to people and play such an important part in their communities.”

Director of Public Health at North East Lincolnshire Council, Stephen Pintus, said:

“The Government and qualified experts from Public Health England have told us that these tests are not yet proven to be reliable.

“This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you’re testing yourself to see if you’re fit and able to leave self-isolation, the tests are not guaranteed to give you an accurate answer. You could still carry the virus, or you may never have had it, but with these tests you cannot be certain.

“The second reason of course is that you’re potentially wasting your money. The prices of these kits can vary but the important thing is that none have been accredited for use in the UK, so you’d be better off just following the Government and NHS advice, staying home and waiting until the virus has been beaten.

“Finally, even if these tests do become approved for use, they will not be suitable for home testing and should be carried out by a trained professional in a clinical setting.

“My advice is quite simple – do not buy these kits. If you’re intent on purchasing a kit and being tested, at least wait until Public Health England has fully tested and approved them.”

Over 5000 NHS front line staff have now been tested, but community testing is still extremely uncommon.

Instead, the government are still suggesting that anybody who suspects they may have contracted coronavirus simply self isolate.

Boris Johnson, who is currently in hospital being treated for Covid-19, referred to the discovery that the tests are ineffective as a “significant setback.”

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