Huge blow to Covid testing as Operation Moonshot misses over 50 per cent of cases
During an Operation Moonshot pilot in Manchester and Salford last month, the rapid coronavirus test at the heart of Boris Johnson’s mass-testing strategy identified only 46.7 percent of infections. The 20-minute-test, which has cost the government £323 million, has been designed to detect the virus in asymptomatic hospital and care home staff.
This means that many of those carrying Covid-19 were wrongly told they were free of the virus.
After the poor performance of the tests in Manchester, there was confusion about whether the tests would be rolled out as part of the first city-wide mass-testing initiative due to begin in Liverpool on Friday, November 6. However, the government has said that small numbers of NHS staff will be using them in hospitals.
“We remain fully committed to wider asymptomatic testing in the health and care sectors as well as in community settings, however we are not convinced that this is the right platform for widespread deployment across GM.” The experts said they would assess the tests again if there were fixes that “materially improve sensitivity”.
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