NHS response

The Chancellor has provided our health services with over £6.6 billion so far from the £14 billion coronavirus emergency response fund.

The UK was one of the very first countries to produce a test for the new coronavirus, and the Government has a set out its 5 pillar strategy towards the ultimate ambition that anyone who needs a test can have one. 3 ‘Lighthouse Labs’ have been set up across the country, dramatically increasing the number of coronavirus tests that can take place each day.

As part of pillar 4, the Government is conducting a large-scale virus infection and antibody test study. 20,000 households in England are being contacted to take part in the first wave to help improve understanding around the current rate of infection and how many people are likely to have developed antibodies to the virus. Up to 300,000 people will take part over 12 months. Tests will be undertaken by the IQVIA nurses in participants’ own homes. Current participants are being selected from a group who have already taken part in ONS surveys.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available and is being distributed across the NHS with the assistance of the Army in accordance with the cross-government UK-wide plan. Paul Deighton, London 2012 Chief Executive, has been appointed to lead the national effort.

The Government has also provided £20 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to rapidly produce a vaccine to combat COVID-19 and £30 million to the National Institute for Health Research to fund further research. Both Imperial College in London and Oxford University have received over £20 million each to fund clinical vaccine trials on humans.