Increase NHS testing capacity for COVID-19 testing, FDA ceases foreign inspections
The coronavirus pandemic has caused global health authorities and agencies to introduce new measures as respective governments respond to growing outbreaks.
That includes the NHS which announced today that it will increase its capabilities to test for the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19.
Currently, 1,500 tests can be carried out per day, but as cases continue to rise in the UK, the NHS has said it will increase its capacity for testing to 10,000 per day.
The NHS has stated that it will also fast-track positive test result confirmations in an attempt to help those who do have the virus to take appropriate actions, with most people getting their results back within a 24-hour time-frame.
UK Health minister Nadine Dorries is included in the number of confirmed cases, after she tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
According to the Department of Health, Dorries began presenting with symptoms last Thursday, the same day that she attended an event hosted by prime minister Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, the US FDA has decided to halt most foreign inspections through April, effective immediately.
The move is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, with the decision to stop physical foreign inspections outside the country based on several factors.
This includes a US State Department travel advisory which prohibits travel for US government employees, as well as further CDC travel recommendations.
The FDA also cites access restrictions on foreign visitors which have been put in place in certain countries as a reason for the suspension of foreign inspections.
In a statement issued yesterday, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn reassured the public that the agency will be able maintain an “oversight over international manufacturers and imported products using alternative tools and methods”.
“We are aware of how this action may impact other FDA responsibilities, including product application reviews,” said Hahn.
“We will be vigilant and monitor the situation very closely and will try to mitigate potential impacts from this outbreak in lockstep with the whole of the federal government,” he added.