The comments come amid speculation that Westminster is deliberating on whether to partially relax the UK's coronavirus lockdown. If successfully implemented, the testing scheme would allow said essential staff to safely return to their positions. But should the UK have already had stronger medical infrastructure in place before the coronavirus pandemic?
Political commentator Keith Rowe gave his views on the matter…
Sputnik: Could the British government’s move to provide more testing for key workers suggest that they are considering whether to end the coronavirus lockdown relatively early?
Keith Rowe: I think they definitely want to open up the economy, but I think that they realise the dilemma that if they open up too soon and the number of cases starts creeping up again, it’s going to be even worse. So I think the government is treading a very fine line, and in a very difficult situation, actually.
Anybody who thinks they have all the answers is totally wrong, nobody has the real answers, and that is a big problem.
Sputnik: Will Westminster's target of providing 100,000 coronavirus tests each day ever be met?
Keith Rowe: There is every chance that they could meet the target, but the real issue is that even if you are testing that many people, you've then got to have a plan for what you do with those people who test both positive and negative.
Negative people may still be open to catching the infection, or they may have had the infection and then may possibly, although that is to be proved, be immune to it. And obviously, if people who have had the infection and are immune, and go straight back to work and won't spread the virus anymore. There needs to be more in the way of tests for people who both have the infection, and for those who may have had it as well.
There is still a lot of unknown science here, along with the ongoing battle to try and find either a cure or a vaccination, and we are seeing huge races across the world to try and find both of those things. That's where the real money is being put, and whoever finds either or both of those things is going to be in an amazing situation for the future, because there is going to be such massive demand for whatever they find.
Sputnik: What is your take on the British government's overall response to the coronavirus pandemic?
Keith Rowe: I don't think the government has botched it, and I think that we have had a terrible issue in the last few weeks, and we've seen that the polls have been telling us that the people have been losing faith in the media because the mainstream media have really been just trying to score points off the government the whole time.
I think people can see through that. It's easy to sit on the side-lines and say "why haven't you found a cure? Why haven't you done this? You should have done that earlier! You should have done that later!" It's much easier to criticise from the side-lines when you haven’t actually got that responsibility of looking after the economy and public health.
I think that the government is listening to scientific advice, I think it's following scientific advice, they are not just making this up as they go along, and I have a lot of sympathy for the government, Matt Hancock, and Boris Johnson, of course, suffered very badly from the coronavirus himself - I suspect that he might have been far more ill than we have been told, and I'm glad he is coming out of it. Hopefully he is going to be back at work on Monday and will grab this bull by the horns again.
I think that the government should have our full support. Of course, they are not doing everything perfectly; no government can do everything correctly. We don’t know all the science, they are learning on the job, and I think that on balance they are doing a pretty good job, and we should support them as a country.