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Key points: Hancock leads conference as he announces Coronavirus vaccine

Posted on November 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today's news conference was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock alongside Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England and Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England following the announcement that PM Boris Johnson has contracted COVID-19 for the second time this year. The conference updated the UK on the latest progress made in regards to a Coronavirus Vaccine, as well as the latest COVID-19 figures.

Key points from the conference:

  • The health secretary says the average number of new cases is 25,329 - up from 22,443 last week. 

  • Mr Hancock says long COVID has lasting effects and impacts thousands of people - showing "this virus can strike us all". He says we need to follow the rules to strike back.

  • Hancock announced 168 deaths were reported yesterday - an average of 414 deaths this week. 

  • More than three million tests have been delivered to NHS staff this week.

  • Hancock announced Moderna vaccine will be available from Spring next year as the UK has secured five million doses

  • He cautions however that the company's production facilities are "not yet at scale".

  • Matt Hancock says there will be a network of 40 clinics to help people coping with the effect of so-called "long Covid". He calls for people to "persevere" with the social distancing rules to get the virus under control.

  • The health secretary says the two new testing "mega labs" - to open in early 2021 - will add 600,000 to the UK's daily testing capacity.

  • Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, says four different lateral flow tests have been brought to field trials. These are able to be read in 20 to 30 minutes and test for antigens, telling you if you are infectious, she says. "The beauty of this test is that we can find people who are not symptomatic, meaning we can stop transmissions before they happen," she said.

    How will the Test's work?
    These tests involve a handheld kit that gives a result - a bit like a pregnancy test - in about 20 minutes, without the need for a lab.

    A nasal swab or saliva is placed into a solution which breaks up the virus into fragments, if it is present.

    Fluid from this goes on one end of the test, then as the virus fragments move along a strip in the test they reach antibodies linked to a visible marker.

    A visual marking then appears if you are positive.

To read the key points from previous government coronavirus conferences click here.