‘Mega-labs’ and long covid clinics announced as health secretary confirms new vaccine orders
- Credit: PA
Forty clinics for people suffering with long Covid and two testing “mega-labs” are among new measures announced in the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
Health secretary Matt Hancock held a briefing at Downing Street on Monday evening, during which he revealed a raft of new steps in the fight against Covid-19.
And he announced that two “mega-labs” would open in the new year to allow the government to ramp up the amount of tests that can be processed and the speed at which results can be returned.
He said: “Coronavirus is not a short term problem that can easily be fixed. We must focus on the long-term solutions underpinned by the best possible science that can see us through this crisis and also lay firm foundations for the future.
“This of course includes our ability to test on scale and we are constantly improving our response. We have already built the largest coronavirus testing capacity in Europe but we will not rest because testing capacity helps keep people safe and get things back more like normal life.”
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Mr Hancock said the new labs would add 600,000 tests to the daily capacity and create 4,000 jobs - but did not specify where they would be located geographically.
Likewise, he said that 40 clinics geared at people suffering from long Covid - the long term form of the virus affecting people recovering from an initial bout, would be established nationwide.
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The health secretary also revealed that the government had secured five million doses of a new vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Moderna, pending its approval.
This would be on top of orders being placed for the Pfizer vaccine, which was announced last week.
He added: “Across diagnostics and vaccines, great advances in medical science are coming to the rescue. While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all that we can to nurture its flame.
“But we’re not there yet. Until the science can make us safe we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control.”