Coronavirus: This Week in the News

26th March 2021

This week marks one year since the start of the first national lockdown in the UK. Here are this week's news reactions and insights from Private Harley Street Clinic Founder Dr. Mark Ali. Dr Ali is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon with a degree in Immunology and Molecular Biology. This week we also shared the first two video interviews with Dr. Mark Ali from our new series.

In the first episode, founder of Private Harley Street Clinic Dr. Mark Ali talks about his background in Cardiothoracic surgery and Immunology and tells us how his private practice changed course in the light of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic to become the leading private practice offering private and corporate Covid Testing and Antibody/T Cell testing.

In the news, a traffic light system is being considered by ministers for when international travel restarts, which could rate countries green, amber and red depending on the state of vaccine passport agreements.

Dr. Ali reacted to the plans, saying: "This raises lots of interesting questions surrounding the efficacy of the various vaccines, as well as whether additional PCR tests would still be required. There are undoubtedly ethical issues too, regarding people's right to choose whether to be vaccinated.

Ultimately, any solution that helps to assist people to travel safely and with more freedom has to be applauded. However, remember that most countries already had in place a negative PCR test requirement, which ticked the box both for the individual and the country."

Airport ePassport gates could be made to scan negative Covid test results, as Government ministers consider mass testing of children to save family summer holidays this year.

Dr. Mark Ali commented: "Testing has to be included in any return to travel strategy, as vaccination is no proof of immunity, nor of Covid carrier status. Ideally, we should be using PCR tests as they are the gold-standard and the most accurate test. However, there is a place for rapid antigen tests, especially for large crowd events like football matches."

In the second instalment of our interview series with the founder of Private Harley Street Clinic Dr. Mark Ali, he looks back on how prepared the UK was to cope with a virus on this scale and the lessons we must learn for the future.

It was also reported that all adults in the UK may be encouraged to test themselves for Covid-19 twice a week, to facilitate the move out of lockdown.

Dr Ali: "This is a good idea, not dissimilar to the Private Harley Street Clinic initiative over Christmas, in which we offered families the ability to do multiple tests over the festive period, to allow for greater safety and protection when meeting family members. This simply broadens the concept nationwide and could be performed using approved rapid antigen tests"

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that coronavirus "certificates" are being considered to facilitate the return to large public events such as the FA Cup.

Dr. Ali explains: "Rapid antigen tests are perfect for facilitating this much needed return to normality and allowing people to enjoy sporting events after such a long absence. It’s inexpensive, and very quick and simple to administer, delivering results in 15 minutes."

A new report reveals that the government's decision to allow free travel to and from Greece last summer could have had a significant impact on the spread of the virus.

Dr. Ali added: "Holidaymakers to holiday destinations like Greece, Dubai etc are by definition are in close proximity to others. Therefore, unfortunately, there is a greater risk of transmission of the virus to a ‘host’ and then onward transmission after return to their home country, especially if no quarantine is required."

Portugal is laying out plans for re-opening tourism to unvaccinated Brits this summer.

Dr. Ali: "Countries should start opening up for travel again as long as infection rates are acceptably low and certain compliance regulations are followed even in the absence of a vaccination certificate. Many British people under 55 will still not have been vaccinated but as long as they can produce a valid negative PCR test, my view is that they should also be able to travel and enjoy their holiday."

Learn more about the various PCR Tests and Antibody and Antigen Tests offered by Private Harley Street clinic.