Coronavirus testing to be ramped up

Covid-19 third wave

Coronavirus testing to be ramped up

The UK is to ramp up its coronavirus monitoring programme, the Government announced today (Wednesday).

More people across the UK will be offered coronavirus tests in a bid to keep track of local outbreaks and reduce infection rates ahead of winter.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey will test 150,000 people per fortnight in England by October and will extend to cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Currently, 28,000 people are tested for coronavirus per fortnight in England.

The survey is separate from the mass testing programme of people with symptoms and tests people in households representative of the population whether or not they have symptoms, meaning it can provide estimates for the true spread of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are developing the capacity to test for coronavirus on an unprecedented scale and undertaking one of the biggest expansions of surveillance testing we have ever seen.

“This ONS survey will be a crucial part of this work, improving our understanding of the rate of infection in the population and how many people have antibodies.”

Meanwhile Heathrow airport has unveiled a new coronavirus testing facility that it hopes will lead to the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people returning from certain countries.

Arriving passengers will be able to book swab tests and have results sent to them in seven hours under the scheme, which is already being used in Germany and Iceland.

Travellers can take a second test at home a few days later and then leave quarantine early if they pass both checks, the Daily Mail reported.

Heathrow executives hope those testing negative could leave quarantine five to eight days after landing, though the airport’s programme needs government approval before it can begin.

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