COVID-19 UPDATE: Thursday 2 April
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was joined by Sir Steve Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England and Professor John Newton, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Manchester.
New funding for NHS
Matt Hancock announced £300m of new funding for pharmacies and has written off £13.4bn of historic NHS debt.
This financial support will shore up the NHS’s standpoint against the virus.
Five-point plan to increase COVID-19 testing
Smaller laboratories will be called in to support government’s five-point plan to ramp up testing, after health leaders set out an ambition to hit 100,000 tests per day.
Pharmaceutical giants and smaller companies will cooperate to build the diagnostic sector in the UK.
Professor John Newton will take on a new role overseeing this process.
The five-point plan aims to deliver 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month. It will:
- Accelerate Public Health England’s in-house testing to hit the 25,000 target
- Use the private sector to source commercial swab tests
- Roll out new antibody tests to understand immunity
- Survey the health of the country’s population
- Call on manufacturers, inventors, commercial developers and pharmaceutical firms to assist the UK's diagnostic capability