Boris Johnson plans to buy ‘hundreds of thousands’ of antibody kits – which can tell if anyone has EVER had the killer disease – after being accused of not testing quickly enough
- PM urged members of the public to heed the advice to keep up social distancing
- Mr Johnson also revealed British scientists will soon start trials for a vaccine
- The government start buying antibody tests which can tell if you had the disease
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Boris Johnson today said the country can ‘beat coronavirus in 12 weeks’ as he plans to buy ‘hundreds of thousands’ of antibody kits which can tell if anyone has ever had the killer disease – after being accused of not testing quickly enough.
The Prime Minister urged members of the public to heed the advice to keep up social distancing and revealed that British scientists will soon start trials for a vaccine.
He said: ‘To give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we’re in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test, which can tell whether you have had the disease and it’s early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable.’
The Prime Minister urged members of the public to heed the advice to keep up social distancing and revealed that British scientists will soon start trials for a vaccine
He said knowing whether you have had Covid-19 could be a ‘total game-changer’ as it would mean those people could get back to work and a normal routine.
Mr Johnson said: ‘By the same token we’re massively increasing the testing to see whether you have it now and ramping up daily testing from 5,000 a day, to 10,000 to 25,000 and then up at 250,000.’
But he said he could not guarantee that by the end of June the peak would be on a ‘downward slope’, although he promised restrictive measures ‘would be finite’.
Mr Johnson said the ‘combination of ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress’ could save ‘many, many thousands of lives’.
He said: ‘Now I cannot stand here and tell you that by the end of June that we will be on the downward slope.
‘It’s possible but I simply can’t say that that’s for certain, of course not, we don’t know where we are, and we don’t know how long this thing will go on for.
‘But what I can say is that this is going to be finite, we will turn the tide, and I can see how to do it within the next 12 weeks.’
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned there will be a ‘lag’ before the public’s efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 will result in a slowing of case numbers.
He said his next priority on testing was for NHS workers, adding he ‘completely’ understood concerns about a lack of public protective equipment (PPE) for staff and this was a major strand of work in the Department of Health.
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