Mass testing

The questionable ethics of Operation Moonshot

Now that we seem to have two Covid-19 vaccines that work, do we really need Operation Moonshot, the government’s programme to test 10 million people a day by early next year? It’s a poignant question, not least because of the extraordinary sums which appear to have been committed to it: briefing documents leaked to the BMJ in September suggested that it could cost £100 billion, which is close to the annual NHS budget in England. What would be the point of testing the entire population of Britain once a week if the virus was being controlled by a vaccine? The cost aside, there is growing medical opinion against the idea.

Is the Liverpool mass-testing scheme a gimmick?

The revelation that both Pfizer and Modena have created seemingly effective and safe Covid vaccines that could be here by December is surely the first bit of good news 2020 has brought us. But we are, of course, nowhere near yet out of the woods. Even if a vaccine gets regulatory approval by early December, all our resources and logistics will have to be focused on procuring, delivering, and then monitoring its roll-out. Boris Johnson himself has urged caution about the Pfizer vaccine, saying ‘there is a long way before we have got this thing beat’. But while the PM is displaying a healthy degree of realism about the challenges