People could be able to return to nightclubs and theatres with the help of rapid Covid tests, Boris Johnson has said.
The Prime Minister suggested lateral flow tests could be the ‘route forward’ to reopening businesses that have been ‘the toughest nuts to crack’ at a Downing Street press conference on Monday.
When questioned on the prospect of ‘vaccine passports’, he said the Government wasn’t ruling anything out – but would likely rely on mass vaccination and testing to reopen society.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Some countries, clearly, are going to be wanting to insist that people coming to their country have evidence of a vaccination – just as people have insisted in the past that you have evidence you are vaccinated against Yellow Fever or other diseases.
‘For the purposes of this country and doing things within the domestic UK economy, we will look at everything.
‘But what we are thinking of at the moment is more of a route that relies on mass vaccination – we intend to vaccinate all of the adults in the country by the autumn – plus lateral flow testing, rapid testing for those bits that have been the toughest nuts to crack.
‘Such as nightclubs or theatres – those parts of the economy we couldn’t get open last year.
‘I think that will be the route that we go down and that businesses will go down. You are already seeing lots of business using the potential of rapid, on-the-day testing as well.
‘I think that, in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward.’
The Tory politician warned it is ‘still early days’ in easing restrictions and ‘there are lots of discussions still to be had’.
Nightclubs have been closed since the first lockdown last March, while theatres briefly opened at reduced capacity over summer.
Lateral flow tests can give results in 30 minutes and are currently being offered to people in surge testing areas. The Government is said to have spent more than £1 billion on them.
A Special Envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organisation has thrown his support behind Mr Johnson’s plan to use rapid testing.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Dr David Nabarro said: ‘The secret to getting life back to some degree of normality for most of us is going to be the availability of really reliable, super-quick tests. That will make movement so, so much easier.’
It comes as 32 cases of a new coronavirus variant are found in the UK.
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