Opinion: UK Covid-19 testing is still not effective enough.

PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 June 2020

Zaffar Van Kalwala believes the local community would make the best Covid tracers.

Zaffar Van Kalwala believes the local community would make the best Covid tracers.


The Army recently rolled into Brent. It wasn’t to take over the borough! But to help with Covid-19 testing.

I remember serving in the Royal Signals Regiment’s Officer Training Corps. Our armed forces are one of the world’s best organisations. Shockingly, our government’s fight against coronavirus isn’t the world’s best. Certainly not Dominic Cummings and his Durham eye tests!

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Last month, there were an average 400 UK coronavirus deaths every day. Brent has 1,471 residents infected with Covid-19. To ease the lockdown, ‘test and trace’ will be one of the important controls used to keep people safe. But UK testing is still not effective enough. Even ex-Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt says “we need better technology and to move faster”.

Testing should be done locally in Brent to protect the community. Results take two days - that’s too long to tell someone if they have Covid-19. GPs with proper PPE could help with testing. Local doctors have better knowledge about local patients. The government says it needs 50,000 tracers. Brent volunteers have done a fantastic job helping the community. They should be transformed into tracers as they know which residents are most vulnerable. Relying too much on technology can be dangerous but the government needs to improve its IT. And residents who become infected and live in overcrowded properties should be offered accommodation to self-isolate.

The advice is: everyone needs to continue to social-distance. We should definitely keep our distance from Boris Johnson’s testing government!.

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