February 22, 2024

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90 minutes to detect Covid-19


New rapid procedure means entire cities can be tested

It is the new face of rapid testing for Covid-19. Entire cities will be tested for coronavirus to contain local outbreaks using on-the-spot tests that give results in just 90 minutes. Starting next week, the tests will be routinely used to check hospital and care home staff and patients, but there are plans for more than a million tests a day by the time winter arrives. Ministers believe the revolutionary tests, which can be processed by portable machines, will see off the danger of another national lockdown by enabling them to test everyone living in towns or cities where there is an outbreak and swiftly isolating those who have the virus. Political Editor Gordon Rayner explains how teachers will also be randomly tested to determine if reopening schools in September has any effect on transmission rates. It comes as leading Tories have written to Boris Johnson urging him to introduce German-style tests at airports to replace blanket quarantine or risk being “left behind other nations”.

Meanwhile, ministers are facing a backlash over plans to extend the Government’s shielding programme to some over-50s this winter. Tory MPs, business leaders and the wife of a Cabinet minister warned that telling more people to stay at home risked damaging the economy and was contrary to the Prime Minister’s plea to get workers back to the office. Read the latest rules on shielding – and how they could change.

Chief Whip ‘failed to act in Conservative MP rape case’

The Government’s Chief Whip is accused of failing to act for four months on complaints against a former Tory minister who was arrested over a suspected rape at the weekend. Mark Spencer is under mounting pressure to explain why he failed to launch an inquiry into alleged behaviour by the senior Conservative, who has not been suspended by the party. The MP, who has not been publicly identified, was arrested on Saturday after a woman in her 20s made a complaint of rape and sexual assault. The Telegraph has established allegations of how the case unfolded. Read on for more details from our team in Westminster.

Sir David Attenborough’s project to lift your spirits

It is perhaps an unlikely pairing. The BBC has teamed up Sir David Attenborough with Dave – the classical musician turned rapper – for a new series showing animals overcoming adversity to lift “viewers’ spirits”. The show, ‘Planet Earth: A Celebration’, will focus on uplifting sequences from previous BBC natural history series, highlighting animals that confounded the odds to survive. Craig Simpson reports.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Gibraltar row | Spain embarked on a secret lobbying drive to push US congressmen into supporting a plan to strip Britain of sole sovereignty over Gibraltar, we can reveal. Seven current and former members of the House of Representatives said the Spanish embassy in Washington DC pushed back after they signed a resolution backing Gibraltar’s British status. Read US Editor Ben Riley-Smith‘s exclusive report.  

Around the world: Fighting the spread of Covid-19

A volunteer in protective gear disinfects a rooftop area inside the Santa Marta favela, in Rio de Janeiro, as a precaution against coronavirus. View a gallery for more of the most striking images from around the world.

The infection has run wild in Brazil, with 93,563 deaths as of yesterday. CREDIT: AFP - CARL DE SOUZA /AFP
The infection has run wild in Brazil, with 93,563 deaths as of yesterday. CREDIT: AFP – CARL DE SOUZA /AFP

Comment and analysis

In case you missed it: Highlights from the weekend

Editor’s choice: Features and arts

  1. Future of fitness | How should we exercise in post-Covid era?

  2. Great escape | How to join the city exodus to the country

  3. Secret getaways | Corner of Turkey perfect for post-lockdown travellers

Business and money briefing

Wall Street | The US stock market is at its most overvalued ever on some closely watched measures. Despite the global downturn, the average S&P 500 stock is trading at record high valuations factoring in profits, surpassing levels seen during the dotcom bubble on some measures. Tom Rees explains how the record run has set alarm bells ringing.  

Sport briefing

Seventh heaven | Lewis Hamilton admitted his “heart nearly stopped” after a final-lap tyre blowout almost cost him victory in a dramatic conclusion to the British Grand Prix. Read Tom Cary‘s report from Silverstone after Hamilton claimed a record-breaking seventh win.  

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

Justice, but no vengeance | They were teens at the same Nazi camp. Now Holocaust survivor Manfred Goldberg has seen his captor face justice. But he has no feelings of vengeance for the SS guard convicted in Hamburg. Luke Mintz speaks to Mr Goldberg.

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