The beginning of October means the onset of autumn as well as the reopening of colleges and schools nationwide. Student gatherings for on-campus teaching and practical classes only add to the massive flows of people in and around central London. King’s College London is partnering with Public Health Institutions to increase testing capacity and contain the virus. This partnership could lead to an additional 10,000 daily tests for those in the capital and beyond.
As the weather gradually changes and Covid-19 infection rate rises, Britain is challenged with growing difficulties in containing the deadly spread of the virus. According to Covid-19 records from the Office for National Statistics, one in 240 people had been infected between the days of September 25th to October 1st, with a total of 17,200 daily new cases.
The UK’s community testing system has encountered serious problems in response to growing demand. Dido Harding, the head of the NHS Test and Trace programme in England, has asserted to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that the demand has gone up four times greater than the total capacity. The underlying issue in this strained, overloaded testing system actually lies in the intermediate processing, which normally would involve the process of sending the tests to the only five Lighthouse laboratories in the UK for analysis.
In response to the worsening situation of both the Covid-19 infections and the paralysed testing system, several top institutions in London have stepped in. King’s was acknowledged for their open support in providing additional health services and implementing innovative research to tackle the virus in the past few months. By Providing King’s laboratories for testing usage in London, King’s has not only offered valuable support in the NHS Test and Trace system, but has also raised the testing capacity to a total of 10,000 per day.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, praised institutions like Kings, saying, “At a time when testing scale up is a major public health priority, the alliance’s incredible effort and leadership in this area is crucial. Their partnership will be invaluable now and in the future as we move to consider antibody testing and vaccines. We look forward to further collaboration with the Alliance.”