Around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already had the coronavirus, the United Kingdom’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as he announced plans for “antibody certificates”.
Data gathered from an antibody surveillance study suggests 17 percent of people in London and around five percent of people across England have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus, he told the daily Downing Street briefing.
This news comes as the government agreed to a deal with pharmaceutical firms Roche and Abbott for more than 10 million antibody tests, to see if people have had COVID-19.
They will first be offered to health and social care staff as well as patients and care home residents.
The tests are not without their critics. Germany, one of the first countries to order millions of tests from Swiss drug giant Roche, said it would not use them until they had been debated by the country’s top ethicists.
Concern remains about how the issuing of “antibody passports” could lead to a two-tier society, with some people continuing to be locked down at home while others move about freely with life beginning to return to normal.