17 August 2020
WIDESPREAD TESTING HAS VITAL ROLE IN UK ECONOMIC RECOVERY – CBI
Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI President, has highlighted how and why widespread COVID-19 testing has a critical role to play in helping the UK economy recover more quickly.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, business has been adamant from the outset that its top priority is the health and wellbeing of its employees and customers. And with restrictions relaxing across more of the UK economy, confidence is key to getting people back into high streets, offices and restaurants.
From a business perspective, the advantages are clear in the context of local lockdowns and helping prevent a damaging second wave. The quicker cases are identified, the easier they can be contained, reducing economic disruption. The Premier League, with help from the University of Birmingham and industry experts has successfully pioneered widespread testing among thousands of players and staff. (see Notes to Editors).
The UK Government has already made great strides in building and ramping up testing capacity. And the UK’s world-leading life sciences and higher education sectors have already combined seamlessly to increase accuracy, capacity and the scalability. Now, a new report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, backed by former Conservative leader, Lord Hague and Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, suggests increasing capacity and efficacy even further. Its core proposal is for the Government to adopt an objective of mass testing, with a far greater number of people being tested together with rapid results.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI President, said:
“The UK government has worked relentlessly to increase testing capacity, compiling a top team working with business, universities and medical experts to amplify its endeavours.
“As Autumn approaches, today’s report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change makes a compelling case for increasing the scale and frequency of testing.
“From a business perspective, there are so many ways that widespread and rapid testing can help to accelerate the economic recovery and avoid a second wave. Examples include helping to make any future local lockdowns even more targeted, minimising disruption to international travel and delivering a significant boost to consumer confidence, encouraging people back into offices, shops, and restaurants.
“Great progress is being made towards developing vaccines but, even as they become available, testing will continue to be important as those most in need will rightly receive the first approved doses.
“As the Institute for Global Change report identifies, businesses have a vital role to play, from building flexible testing infrastructure, communicating with employees and, in some cases, facilitating testing themselves.
“Last week’s economic data was a sobering reminder that there’s not a moment to lose in protecting people’s lives and living standards in the face of this devastating global pandemic.”
Notes to Editors:
‘Taking the UK’s Testing Strategy to the Next Level’ is a new report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
The Premier League worked directly with Project Screen by Circle, a consortium of industry experts led by Prenetics, together with the University of Birmingham, The Doctors Laboratory and support from delivery company Stuart (see report page 23 for more details).