Covid-19 testing should include 'virtually everybody' to stop spread, says Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain must step up its testing regime and test “virtually everyone” to contain the coronavirus.

The ex-Labour leader said he was sure that the Government was working flat out to contain the virus but that mass testing was needed in the fightback.

Mr Blair said that a point will be reached where a “very large” proportion of the entire population is tested for coronavirus.

He said: “Your risk, obviously, is as you start to ease the lockdown, how do you then deal with any resurgence of the disease? This, of course, is what they’re now dealing with in China and South Korea, and elsewhere.

“Unless you have that testing capability that you can apply at scale, and by the way when I say mass testing I mean I actually think you will need to get to the point where you’ve got the capability, and I assume we’re preparing for this now, of testing literally a very large proportion of the entire population.

Boris Johnson is holed up in a study in Number 11 Downing Street

“You may have to do those tests two or three different times because you need all the time to be able to track what’s happening with the disease, to learn where, for example, there may be a surge or a hotspot of it, and take immediate action.”

Mr Blair said it would be “perfectly possible” for Boris Johnson to run the country from his living room, during his coronavirus self-isolation.

He said: “The PM is able to direct this but it’s how you put the most capable people in charge of logistics and procurement.

“We should be putting everything we can behind technology.”

The former PM also said that any response must be global – or we risk seeing a resurgence in the virus.

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Mr Blair said Covid-19 is a “huge challenge” for states where healthcare systems weak and governments are not strong.

He called for global co-ordination to pull together ventilators nd other equipment to help those countries most in need. 

He added: “We need to realise if there’s one part of the world that manages to get on top of this but another that doesn’t, we’re all going to need to pull together.”


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