Accurate antibody tests that are able to tell millions of Britons if they have had coronavirus are set to be rolled out across the UK within a fortnight.
Testing giant Roche Diagnostics claims that it has created a kit accurate enough to be used at scale – and the firm says it has enough stock to provide hundreds of thousands to the NHS every week.
It comes after weeks of disappointment regarding Britain’s mass roll-out of antibody tests, which are designed to tell if someone has contracted the virus in the past and indicate whether they may now be immune.
Roche claims its lab-based ‘Elecsys’ test can spot 100 per cent of people who have had the virus – with no ‘false negatives’ at all. The test is important because it gives the clearest possible picture of how widespread the coronavirus is in the UK.
If many more people have had the illness than currently believed, fears of a second peak will diminish.
The breakthrough will fuel Boris Johnson’s plans to ease the UK out of coronavirus lockdown, with the prime minister planning to tell Britain to prepare to return to work after giving business groups the first sight of new guidelines on how to get employees safely back into offices.
In a prime-time TV broadcast to the nation next Sunday evening, the Prime Minister will set out a timeline for when workplaces and schools will reopen.
Shops, “cách khôi phục facebook” factories, warehouses and construction sites are expected to be told they can reopen following the spring bank holiday on May 25. Strict rules will have to be followed even if offices are reopening, with hot desking banned, office canteens having to stay closed and the lift capacity halved.
And in order to fire up the economy businesses who can’t enforce social distancing can still reopen as long as their staff are adequately protected with PPE or screens.
The measures laid out in the draft document include:
Only staff unable to work from home should be asked to return to offices and other workplaces with shifts staggered to reduce contacts;
Increased parking spaces and cycle racks to help people avoid public transport;
End hot-desking and only allow small numbers in lifts. Staff issued with their own hand sanitiser and screens put up to shield workers if necessary. Ban on team meetings in small rooms;
Increased cleaning of offices and equipment and rearrange desks to ensure social distancing;
Roche Diagnostics says it could roll out 100 per cent accurate antibody tests within two weeks (pictured is an antibody test centre in west London)
Boris Johnson is planning to tell Britain to prepare to return to work in a prime-time TV broadcast to the nation next Sunday evening
The UK announced 315 new coronavirus deaths Sunday, bringing total fatalities to 28,446 and putting the country on course to become the hardest hit in Europe
It is hoped the new antibody tests could help the UK ease out of lockdown – pictured are cyclists exercising in Regents Park in London on Saturday
Michael Gove revealed that 76,496 tests had been performed yesterday, dipping below the 100,000 daily target set by the government
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It comes as the UK announced 315 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing total fatalities to 28,446 and putting the country on course to become the hardest hit in Europe.
As Britain continues the battle the health emergency:
The northwest of England emerged as the new UK epicentre of the outbreak, with more coronavirus patients in hospital than in London;
Michael Gove warned that the lockdown could be reintroduced in areas that see infection rates rise in ‘whack-a-mole’ plan as the government tries to ease crippling restrictions;
Piers Morgan tweeted he is taking time off ‘out of an abundance of caution’ while he awaits results of a Covid-19 test after feeling unwell;
Boris Johnson revealed doctors prepared to announce his death in his first interview since his knife-edge coronavirus battle;
Senior doctors warned the PM the lockdown should be eased for over-70s on mental health grounds;
Minsters were said to be examining plans to re-open some schools from the beginning of June;
Some people were found to be enjoying the lockdown, saying it was helping their relationships, they were enjoying work more and plan to spend more time with their children in future;
The guidelines are from from draft proposals drawn up by the Department for Business (Beis) in consultation with executives, trade bodies and unions.