UK study shows 17% of Londoners have already contracted coronavirus

An antibody study suggests that 17% of people in London and around 5% cent in England have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday. The study was led by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The data show that around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already contracted the novel coronavirus. Hancock made the announcement as the government worked out a deal with pharmaceutical firms for delivery of 10m antibody tests.

There was no evidence of increased infection from the coronavirus among front-line National Health Service and care staff, according to the ONS. Hancock said certificates are being considered for people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies. "It's not just about the clinical advances that these tests can bring. It's that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us to understand more in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, of dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus."

He also announced a trial of a rapid 20-minute test to tell people if they currently have Covid-19. There has been criticism that people have been waiting days or weeks for test results.

England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, told the briefing the total number of deaths from all causes was now down to the rate in an average winter. "So, we are essentially having a winter in health terms, in terms of mortality, but in late spring and early summer."

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