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Boris Johnson: rapid Covid tests could help theatres and clubs reopen

The Prime Minister has spoken about the future of live entertainment as the vaccine roll-out continues

A full theatre

Boris Johnson has discussed the opportunities for theatres and entertainment venues to reopen live on TV this evening.

Describing events with full auditoria as "the toughest nuts to crack", the Prime Minister suggested that a combination of mass vaccination and lateral flow testing will likely be a route back to performance.

While stating that nothing is currently set in stone, Johnson said: "We'll look at everything, but what we're thinking of at the moment is more of a route that relies on mass vaccination (we intend to vaccinate all adults in the country by the autumn) plus lateral flow testing, or rapid testing, for those bits that are "the toughest nuts to crack" – theatres or nightclubs, for example – areas of the economy that we couldn't get to open last year. I think that will be the route that we go down and that businesses will go down."

Johnson's reference to mass testing (while ruling out vaccine passports, as some have floated) was originally suggested last year as part of an "Operation Moonshot" – though plans for this seem to have stymied with the most recent lockdown.

The Prime Minister went on: "A lot of businesses are already using on-the-day testing and that in combination with vaccination will probably the route forward...It is still early days, with lots of discussion to be had."

It is unknown how much such a scheme would cost or who would pay for it.

A major roadmap out of lockdown is expected next Monday, though it is unknown whether or not references to entertainment industry will feature in said roadmap. Late last year, Oxford University developed a prototype for a five-minute Covid test, with other tests delivering results in 20 or so minutes.

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