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Vaccines minister: 'Super-fast' Covid tests are being trialled to open entertainment industry

Plans for rapid testing are being drawn up, according to the government

Two West End venues opening up in the near future
© WhatsOnStage

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has stated that Porton Down laboratories in Wiltshire is developing 'super-fast' tests that will help the beleaguered events industry.

Zahawi's comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested live on national television that rapid testing, alongside the mass vaccination effort, will be key to getting at-capacity events up and running – describing theatre and clubs as "the toughest nuts to crack".

While dismissing a state-led use of "vaccine passports", the vaccines minister told Good Morning Britain yesterday that: "There are new technologies in rapid testing that are constantly coming forward and being tested by our scientists at Porton Down, where it does allow you speedy testing, to be able to open some of those venues." This rapid testing would occur in conjunction with mass vaccination, Zahawi has said, while highlighting how important it is that these tests deliver reliable results.

No timeline for such initiatives has been revealed, and what exactly Zahawi defines as "super-fast" is also unclear. The Prime Minister is set to unveil a roadmap out of lockdown next Monday, though it is not clear whether or not concrete dates will be given for live performance.

Yesterday we ran down what WOS readers think of the idea of being tested ahead of visiting a theatre.

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