London, April 2 (IANS) Testing was the solution to “unlock the puzzle” of the novel coronavirus, said the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was currently in self-isolation after contracting the disease which has infected 29,865 people and killed 2,357 others in the country.
“I want to say a special word about testing, because it is so important, and as I have said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through,” the BBC quoted the Prime Minister as saying In a video message on Twitter on Wednesday evening.
“This is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle. This is how we will defeat it in the end.”
Johnson said more coronavirus testing would enable staff who were self-isolating, either because they had symptoms or shared a household with someone who was sick, to know if they were safe to work.
Antibody tests, which look for signs of immunity in the blood, could also show who had already had coronavirus and was therefore not at risk of being infected or passing the infection on to others, the Prime Minister said.
However, these tests were not yet ready for use and it was not clear when they will be.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said the government was working with NHS England, Public Health England and other organisations to boost test capacity with an additional network of labs and testing sites, the BBC reported.
Also on Wednesday, Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England medical director, said during Downing Street's daily coronavirus briefing that the “intention” was for testing for frontline staff to increase from “thousands to hundreds of thousands within the coming weeks”.