SCHOOLS will have access to rapid 90 minute tests to help get kids back in classrooms, Matt Hancock confirmed this morning.
The Health Secretary said the new technology was an “incredibly important” step to help extend the testing programmes to track the virus in schools.
Mr Hancock said the new tests which give coronavirus results in 90 minutes are “a big step forward in terms of how quickly we’re going to be able to get tests turned around.”
He said this morning: “What that means in real life is that more people are going to be able to get tested more quickly so we can find out where the virus is and tackle it and keep those infection rates down.
“We can expand testing capacity and (get them) into settings where, for instance schools, we have survey testing.
“So we have some testing that would be able to be expanded.”
The PM has vowed to get all kids back into school by September after missing months of in-class learning during lockdown.
It comes after warnings from chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty that trade offs would have to be made to get kids back to school.
He warned last week that relaxing further rules will “absolutely, inevitably” lead to a resurgence of the virus and the nation had “probably reached the near limits” of what can be reopened.
But Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick shut down fears pubs could be closed in order to get children back in schools.
He told Times Radio yesterday the Government do not have any plans to force hospitality venues to close again in order to reopen schools.
He said: “You’re right to say that reopening schools and getting our children back into the classroom with that direct face-to-face contact with their teachers will be a priority for the Government when we have to make those tough choices.”
The initial phase of the surveillance program tested teachers and pupils in 100 schools.
The study is critical to look at asymptomatic cases of coronavirus – which could account for 70 per cent of cases.