Mass testing of people without Covid-19 symptoms is “not an accurate way of screening the general population,” a senior figure at the Department of Health and Social Care has said in a letter seen by The BMJ.
The comments were made by James Bethell, one of England’s health ministers, in response to a letter from an MP raising concerns about blanket polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on behalf of a constituent.
In his letter Bethell stated that “swab testing people with no symptoms is not an accurate way of screening the general population, as there is a real risk of giving false reassurance.” He added, “Widespread asymptomatic testing could undermine the value of testing, as there is a risk of giving misleading results. Rather, only people with Covid-19 symptoms should get tested.”
Source: The BMJ11