Coronavirus: Screening

(asked on 30th December 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its recent policy on mass testing asymptomatic populations and using lateral flow tests for access to care homes of its subsequent advice that swab testing people with no symptoms is not an accurate way of screening the general population, as there is a real risk of giving false reassurance. Widespread asymptomatic testing could undermine the value of testing, as there is a risk of giving misleading results.


Answered by
Helen Whately Portrait
Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
This question was answered on 11th March 2021

Following the development of approved new technologies, NHS Test and Trace launched small scale pilots to allow more asymptomatic testing in populations where prevalence of COVID-19 was thought to be higher or where individuals are more at risk. Extensive clinical evaluation has been carried out on the lateral flow or swab tests. Evaluations from Public Health England and the University of Oxford show these tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes. While false positives or false negatives can never be completely ruled out, the likelihood of a false positive remains low at approximately four in 1,000 people tested.

Extensive testing has shown lateral flow devices are suitable for use in care homes where they can help to identify people who are the most likely to spread the virus further and therefore support the prevention of transmission of the disease from staff and visitors.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
Recent Documents related to Coronavirus: Screening

1. Lateral flow device performance data
07/07/2021 - Department of Health and Social Care
- View source

Found: for SARS -CoV -2 using antigen -detecting lateral flow devices Evidence from performance data October

2. Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing in England: 30 September to 6 October 2021
14/10/2021 - UK Health Security Agency
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Found: Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing (England) 30 September to 6 October 202 1 Published

3. Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing in England: 23 September to 29 September 2021
08/10/2021 - UK Health Security Agency
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Found: Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing (England): 23 September to 2 9 September

4. Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England): 17 June to 23 June 2021
01/07/2021 - Department of Health and Social Care
- View source

Found: Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing in England: 17 June to 23 June 2021

5. Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing in England: 9 September to 15 September 2021
23/09/2021 - Department of Health and Social Care
- View source

Found: Weekly statistics for rapid asymptomatic testing (England): 9 September to 15 September 2021

Latest Documents
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