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Coronavirus breakthrough: One million home testing kits set to be released to public

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Public Health England (PHE) hinted that the UK lockdown could be curtailed after disclosing that testing kits for home use were being evaluated. People are currently sticking to the rules regarding self-isolation in an attempt to avoid further infection of coronavirus.

But testing kits could help those who have already battled the disease to go back to their normal social and work lives as health authorities believe there is a period of immunity after having been infected with the virus.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, reasserted plans were in place to acquire ”a million tests that people can do themselves”.

“In other words, members of the public will be able to take a blood test and send it back in the post and get that analysed,” she told the health and social care committee on Thursday.

“That is an antibody test that tells you if you have had the condition.

“That is absolutely critical for two reasons: to understand what is going on but also to allow people to return to work.

1 million home testing kits for coronavirus could be sent out in a matter of weeks

1 million home testing kits for coronavirus could be sent out in a matter of weeks (Image: Getty)

“That is well advanced but not ready yet. We need to be absolutely sure it is a valid test.

“We expect that to come within a couple of weeks but I wouldn’t want to over promise on that, and I think the chief medical officer has been absolutely clear on it being right before it is put out.”

Prof Doyle said immunity was believed to be at its “strongest” for 28 days after beating the disease, but the course of protection could be longer.

In the committee’s first virtual discussion, health experts criticised the postponement in testing those caring for Covid-19 patients.

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Testing kit

Public Health England set to release home testing kits (Image: Getty)

The Government has promised to carry out more testing of doctors, nurses and care workers but has so far prioritised patient testing.

According to medical practitioner representatives staff numbers in the NHS were under pressure as workers abided by the Government’s rules and self-isolated as they began to experience symptoms.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), advised MPs via videoconference: “At this time of year, it is estimated that 10% of the population could have a symptom of a temperature or a cough in a non-Covid situation.

“We had situations where many GP practices and hospitals were understaffed, the staff themselves who were self-isolating were telling us they felt able to work but were following the guidance, and that if they were able to be tested they would come back to work.

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