'17% Londoners, 5% of UK residents have COVID-19 antibodies'

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock holds the daily coronavirus disease news conference at 10 Downing Street in London

Mr Hancock said certificates are being considered for people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies.

A state-run testing center at the Monroe Community College campus in Brighton is scheduling appointments days in advance - call the NY coronavirus hotline at 888-364-3065 to make an appointment.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This new test could provide accurate results nearly on the spot".

Meanwhile, the antibody tests will help scientists to understand more about the virus.

Hancock said the government has signed contracts for up to 10m tests, which have been approved as accurate, from drug firms Roche and Abbott. Now, the government is starting to ease some of the strict measures put into place, including allowing citizens to exercise outdoors as often as they like and to meet up with friends and family from a safe distance (though only one at a time).

Britain will buy 10 million coronavirus antibody tests from two major health care companies and begin administering them to health care workers as early as next week, officials said on Thursday.

While it remains unclear what level of immunity people develop once they have had COVID-19, some experts hope a degree of immunity lasts for at least a year or two. However, it is now not clear if testing positive for coronavirus antibodies translates to permanent immunity.

"Our action today is an important step the agency has taken to ensure that Americans have access to trustworthy tests", FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., said in an agency statement.

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The Health Secretary said they would be particularly appropriate for health and care workers, adding: "This will enable health and care workers to carry on with their shift or immediately isolate on the same day, and could eventually offer the same benefit to the whole country". "We don't yet know whether antibodies mean you are immune".

Before the press briefing, Downing Street announced a U-turn on the NHS surcharge, saying overseas health and care staff will be exempted from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS.

"Knowing if you have these antibodies will give us an idea if you have a better idea of contracting, spreading or dying from coronavirus".

He also said care home deaths have peaked.

NHS staff will get those tests first.

If the technique is deemed to be both successful and effective, it will be rolled out nationally within six weeks.

Mr Hancock said the testing scheme was the "guiding star" to "restore freedom in this country" as he announced the new plans to try to track the contagion.

Anyone can get the test as long as they have a doctor's order.

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