MILLIONS of coronavirus survivors could be given immunity certificates to free them from social distancing, the health secretary has revealed.
Matt Hancock hinted on Thursday that giving survivors proof of immunity could help ease Brits back to normality – after suggesting almost four million are thought to have recovered from Covid-19.
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The secretary of state said that "systems of certification" were being worked on in Government to allow immune people more freedoms, the Times reports.
He confirmed during the Government's daily coronavirus briefing yesterday that millions of antibody tests have now been ordered – although it could be months before experts know whether having the virus makes you immune.
'UNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY'
Data based on a sample from earlier in May showed that one in 20 people in England are thought to have had the bug, while 17 per cent of Londoners are thought to have been infected.
Mr Hancock told the nation: "History has shown that understanding an enemy is crucial to defeating it."
It comes after London reported now new coronavirus cases for 24 hours – giving a glimmer of hope that lockdown measures could soon be eased further.
But the health secretary stressed that experts were "not yet in a position to say those who test positive are immune" to getting the virus again.
The Government will ramp up antibody tests in the meantime in a bid to roll them out to the nation and discover the true spread of the disease.
MILLIONS OF TESTS
Mr Hancock went on to confirm last night that the Government has sealed a huge deal with Roche to roll out antibody tests to NHS workers from next week.
A deal for 10million tests has been signed, and it will be free of charge to those who need them.
He said: "This is an important milestone and it represents further progress in our national testing programme.
"Knowing you have these antibodies will help us to understand in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus."
Official figures show more than 36,000 people have died from Covid-19 and the new test will help provide information on the level of immunity some patients have towards the virus.
Mr Hancock added that a new "on the spot" coronavirus test which can diagnose the bug in 20 minutes has been developed in the UK.
The swab test, which can show if someone currently has Covid-19, will be trialled from today and could be rolled out within weeks to help stop the spread of the bug.
Experts said it could help save the British summer by allowing people to instantly show they are infection free before and after they travel.
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