Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said a mass coronavirus testing regime, which also includes the ones who don’t show symptoms, is essential to avoid the need for another lockdown, it was reported on Tuesday.
“On some estimates, 70 per cent of people with the disease are asymptomatic, so if you are only testing people with symptoms you are losing the majority of people from your testing strategy,” the BBC quoted the former leader as saying to the Times Radio.
Blair, who was in office from 1997 to 2000, said that until a vaccine or an effective treatment becomes available, mass testing is the only way to keep the virus’ spread under control.
He added that mass testing “avoids the severity of the very blunt instrument of lockdown and gets you to a place where you can more or less get your economy moving whilst containing the disease”.
He praised the government for increasing testing availability, but said more needs to be done – including making sure the existing capacity is actually used.
Blair’s latest remarks after he had previously said that the virus would not be eliminated and people will have to learn to live with it.