Strong testing system ‘needed’ as vaccines continue

Professor Devi Sridhar said a strong testing system was needed as the vaccine programme continued.

Strong testing system ‘needed’ as vaccines continue Getty Images

A strong Covid-19 testing system “is needed” as the vaccine programme continues.

That is the view of Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, she said: “The question is how do we ease restrictions in a one-way process – we don’t see a third wave over the next few months while the vaccine’s rolled out.

“That requires a strong, test, trace and isolate system, especially supporting people in isolating more, as well as mass testing to really hit higher prevalence areas.”

Prof Sridhar also said the UK would have to consider vaccination rates in poorer countries once rates are “super low” at home.
She said 130 states around the world did not currently have any vaccines at all.

As well as the “moral” argument around vaccinating people abroad, she said the UK should consider its own self-interest in preventing new strains from emerging and addressing geopolitical competition.

Prof Sridhar said: “We are seeing Russia and China donating their vaccines to low-income countries for clear geopolitical reasons.

“We’ve heard with the G7 going on that there is concern about what will it mean for the influence of European and North American countries if China and Russia are seen as being the most reliable support rather than the western world.”

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