Covid surge testing roll-out to curb spread of India variant

Matt Hancock has confirmed that surge tests will be introduced to contain the spread of the Indian variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Labor’s Jonathan Ashworth said: “To date, UK COG (Covid Genomics UK) reports 135 cases of B1617 in the UK, 115 in the last 28 days – the fastest growing variant in the UK in the last three weeks.”

Mr Ashworth said his party “welcomes” the move to red list India, adding, “But we now have cases in the community that are not related to international travel.

“Now I understand that (Mr. Hancock) is analyzing these samples. But now we certainly have to start with the overvoltage tests and identify the B1617 as a worrying variant. “

Regarding India’s inclusion on the Red List, the Minister of Health said: “This is not a decision that we take lightly.

“(Mr Ashworth) is right to ask about surge tests to ensure we limit the spread of the first-time variant in India as much as possible – and we will, I can attest.”

However, Conservative Bob Blackman (Harrow East) said that surge test results “appear to have an extremely long turnaround time”.

Mr. Hancock replied, “We’ve managed to cut the turnaround time for sequencing positive tests a bit, but we’re also introducing a new type of test that can tell not just whether you’re positive but whether you’re one of the Known tests have variants without going through a full sequence, and that can give you a much quicker snapshot of whether a positive result has any of the known variants in a matter of hours before sending it to sequencing so you can each new variant see that you don’t know about. “

Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) called on the government to “share and clean up their vaccination card plans”.

Mr. Hancock replied: “The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is carrying out a review in this area which will be reported in due course.”

The conservative Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) said, “We stick to the dates, not the dates.” Can’t we go inside now? “

Mr. Hancock replied, “We want to see the effects of one step before we take the next step. We want to see the impact on the data before we take the next step so we can be confident that this is an irreversible path, a one-way street. “


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