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4 April 2020

Government sets out 'five pillar' strategy to scale up its testing programmes

Introduced by

Department of Health and Social Care

Targeted at

People with medical need, key workers, general public


Published on 4 April 2020. First announced in daily briefing on 2 April. From this week the NHS will be using all its spare capacity to test critical front-line key workers. By the end of April it will complete the pilot of the new commercial swab testing programme and is aiming to offer tens of thousands of swab tests per day. In early April it will complete its evaluation of the antibody test kits and share the results. During April it will continue the programme to survey the population to support the development of new tests and treatments

Stated aims

To make testing is a key pillar of the strategy to protect the NHS and save lives


This is the publication of the government's five pillar testing strategy, which consists of:

  • scaling up NHS swab testing for those with a medical need and, where possible, the most critical key workers
  • mass swab testing for critical key workers in the NHS, social care and other sectors
  • mass antibody testing to help determine if people have immunity to COVID-19
  • surveillance testing to learn more about the disease and help develop new tests and treatments
  • spearheading a diagnostics national effort to build a mass testing capacity at a completely new scale.

Gov.uk strategy

Gov.uk press release