Coronavirus: Virus test with 20-minute results being trialled in Hampshire

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Britain"s Health Secretary Matt Hancock holds the daily coronavirus disease news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 21, 2020Image copyright
Reuters

A coronavirus test that gives results in 20 minutes is being trialled, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The new swab test – which would show whether someone currently has the virus – does not need to be sent to a lab.

Mr Hancock also said more than 10 million antibody tests – that check if someone has had the virus in the past – will start being rolled out next week.

It comes as the PM scrapped the fees to use the NHS for overseas health service staff and care workers.

Non-EU migrants currently have to pay the health immigration surcharge, which is £400 per year and set to rise to £624 in October.

But after mounting pressure from MPs, Boris Johnson decided foreign NHS staff and care workers should be exempt.

The number of people who have died after testing positive for the virus has now reached 36,042, a rise of 338, the government announced on Thursday.

There are currently two types of test for the coronavrius.

Swab tests are already available to all adults and children aged over five on the NHS and involve taking a swab up the nose or from the back of the throat. These tests indicate if a person currently has Covid-19.

The antibody test is a blood test that looks for antibodies in the blood to see whether a person has had the virus. Antibodies are made by our immune system as it learns to fight an infection.

Mr Hancock said the new swab test will be trialled in Hampshire, southern England. The trial will run for six weeks and test up to 4,000 people of all ages and backgrounds.

He said the new swab test “is interesting to us because it is so fast,” adding: “You get the result on the spot.”

“We want to find out if it will be effective on a larger scale. If it works, we’ll roll it out as soon as we can.”

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