Prime Minister’s ‘moonshot’ plan to get UK back to normal by Christmas

(Left to right) Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief

(Left to right) Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance lay out the new coronavirus plan. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

There could be light at the end of the lockdown tunnel as the Prime Minister has revealed life could get “much closer to normal” by Christmas.

Boris Johnson shared his optimistic outlook this afternoon saying that a new testing scheme could be an additional weapon against the virus.

He said: “Over the summer we have been working up an alternative plan which could allow life to return closer to normality. And that plan is based on mass testing.

MORE: Boris Johnson reveals ‘rule of six’ details and new virus marshals“Up to now, we have used testing primarily to identify people who are positive – so we can isolate them from the community and protect high risk groups. And that will continue to be our priority. We are working hard to increase our testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.”

He went on: “But in future, in the near future, we want to start using testing to identify people who are negative – who don’t have coronavirus and who are not infectious - so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else with the virus.

“And we think, we hope, we believe that new types of test which are simple, quick and scalable will become available.”

The new tests use swabs or saliva and can turn round results in as little as 20 minutes.

He added: “Crucially, it should be possible to deploy these tests on a far bigger scale than any country has yet achieved – literally millions of tests processed every single day. That level of testing would allow people to lead more normal lives, without the need for social distancing.

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“We are hopeful this approach will be widespread by the spring and, if everything comes together, it may be possible even for challenging sectors like theatres to have life much closer to normal before Christmas.

“Our plan – this moonshot that I am describing – will require a giant, collaborative effort from government, business, public health professionals, scientists, logistics experts and many, many more.”