Government Minister 'couldn't comment' when NHS staff will get antibody tests

21 May 2020, 09:54

Security minister James Brokenshire is confident the track-and-trace system will be in place by the 1st of June
Security minister James Brokenshire is confident the track-and-trace system will be in place by the 1st of June. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Security minister James Brokenshire has told LBC he "couldn't comment" on whether NHS and social care workers will get antibody tests from next week.

Mr Brokenshire told LBC: "We know that there has been vital focus on this antibody test, what that can give you. Of course, we're still seeing what the science tells us as to the level of, effectively, immunity that exposure will provide. But it is an important step."

He added that the Government should be "ambitious" as to what they can achieve with tracking and tracing.

Read more: Worldwide number of coronavirus cases top five million

"Obviously we have 1 June as the date that we are working towards, 24,000 (trackers) having been recruited, getting that to 25,000 and being able to track and trace 10,000 people.

"That is the start and we know that we need to do more beyond that."

Mr Brokenshire said the Government "will continue to reflect on what is happening elsewhere".

The news comes a day after high street chemist Superdrug became the first retailer to sell commercial coronavirus antibody tests to the public.

Read more: Superdrug first retailer to launch Covid-19 antibody tests

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Mr Brokenshire also said there were arguments to say the UK was right to move away from track and trace earlier in the pandemic.

Read more: Trials of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine start in UK

Asked by Nick Ferrari if the Government were wrong to abandon track and trace in March, Mr Brokenshire said: "I think there are arguments actually to say that we needed to deploy the resource in the way that we did.

"But there will be plenty of time for us to continue this conversation when we're through the current pressures and the current issues and everybody will be able to reflect on what was and was not done."

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