‘Spent £100billion on lateral flow tests’ Matthew Wright blasts waste of taxpayers’ money
Covid passports: Matthew Wright hits out at lateral flow tests
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The broadcaster branded the proposal a “madness” as he noted the risk of the lateral flow tests returning an incorrect result is very high. Mr Wright hit out at the Government for “resurrecting” its mass-testing scheme despite the potential inconsistencies. Speaking on This Morning, the presenter said: “This is essentially Operation Moonshot being resurrected.
“That’s £100bn of our money being spent on lateral flow tests that, depending on who you believe, Porton Down says the error rate is 30 percent but that’s where it’s conducted by scientists and medical folk.
“When it’s regular people doing at home, the error rate is nearly 50 percent.”
Mr Wright added: “You’re talking about 108 million tests a week with an error rate approaching 50 percent.
“That is madness.”
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The introduction of the rapid lateral flow testing system is part of the Government’s efforts to reopen the economy in time for the summer.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm whether the current infection rate is low enough to allow pubs with gardens to open to customers.
Health Minister Edward Argar said he expects Britons returning to work in the coming weeks to be among the first to access the lateral flow tests on offer.
Mr Argar told the BBC on Monday: “I suspect in the first instance, a lot of them will be used by people who are starting to go back into their workplace again, as the economy starts opening up again, as pubs start opening for outside drinks and shops start opening again and as people start going back to their offices and businesses.
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“So I suspect that will be a very large proportion of people who use these tests.”
The Conservative minister said the cost of supplying the quick-fire result tests to everyone in England would be met by the two-year £37 billion NHS Test and Trace budget.
The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available from Friday, regardless of whether people have symptoms.
The announcement comes as Boris Johnson is due to meet senior ministers on Monday to sign off the next stage of the road map out of lockdown.
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People will be able to obtain a test through a home ordering service, workplace or school testing programme, or by collecting one at a local test site.
Mr Johnson said the scheme would help stop fresh outbreaks, enabling the authorities to identify and control new variants of the disease.
Under the Government’s road map, pubs and restaurants will be able to start serving customers outdoors from next week while hairdressers, nail salons, gyms and libraries – as well as non-essential retail – will be able to reopen.
While there is relief among MPs at the prospect of the economy reopening, there is concern among some about the proposals for the “Covid status certification” scheme dubbed “vaccine passports”.
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