Testing for Covid-19 – an unresolved fiasco

Matt Hancock’s sudden conversion on April 23 to the cause of mass tracing of contacts of people infected by Covid-19 and commitment to recruit and train upwards of 18,000 people to begin this process “within weeks” is a belated victory for the public health professionals who have been screaming the need for this ever since contact tracing was abandoned in early March.

But the failure for so long to track and trace and to build the networks necessary to do this effectively has contributed to the spread of the virus and prolonged the lockdown of the economy.

Following on the exposure of the chaos and broken promises on supply of personal protection equipment (PPE) to NHS and social care staff, this additional failure of government policy is moving centre stage, as the deadline to hit the target of 100,000 daily tests for the Covid-19 virus is just a week away, with only around 23,000 tests being delivered, despite claims of capacity to test up to 50,000 daily.

Full story in The Lowdown, 24 April 2020