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Seventeen per cent of Londoners and 5 per cent of rest of UK has Covid-19 antibodies, health secretary claims

AN ANTIBODY surveillance study suggests 17 per cent of people in London and around 5 per cent of the rest of the nation have coronavirus antibodies, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today.

He told the daily Downing Street briefing that the government has signed contracts for 10 million antibody tests with pharma and medical firms Roche and Abbott, with the roll-out starting with health and care staff, patients and residents from next week.

Mr Hancock added: “The UK government has arranged supplies of these tests on behalf of the devolved administrations and each devolved nation is deciding how to use its test allocation and how testing will be prioritised and managed locally.

“This is an important milestone and it represents further progress in our national testing programme.”

Certification systems will be developed for people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies, he also said.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the total number of deaths from all causes was now down to the rate in an average winter.

He added: “So, we are essentially having a winter in health terms, in terms of mortality, but in late spring and early summer.”

Prof Whitty also said that care home deaths have peaked and are beginning to come down.

It came as 338 more deaths in hospitals, care homes and in the community were recorded in the UK. This daily increase takes the total death toll to 36,042.

Some 2,615 more people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past day, taking the total to 250,908.

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