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Covid 19: Where’s the strategy for testing?

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2518 (Published 26 June 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2518

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  1. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief
  1. The BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}bmj.com
    Follow Fiona on Twitter @fgodlee

It would be nice to be able to say otherwise, but the UK’s approach to testing in this covid-19 pandemic continues to be chaotic, centralised, commercialised, and driven by numerical targets rather than clear strategy. Allan Wilson, president of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, has called this reactive and random approach the “wild west of testing.”1 Writing for BMJ Opinion this week, Chris Ham agrees. The system is far from “world beating,” and ministers must be prepared to acknowledge and learn from mistakes, he says.2

What makes matters worse is the ongoing lack of honesty. The government has exaggerated the performance of its much vaunted test, track, and trace system: most …

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