To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the hon. Member for St Albans of 15 September 2020, Official Report, column 199, if he will publish the modelling carried out over summer 2020 by his Department on the estimated demand for covid-19 testing from (a) schoolchildren and (b) key-workers as schools re-opened in September 2020.
Modelling of demand for tests from those with COVID-19-like symptoms was done on the population as a whole. Symptomatic testing demand was projected separately for those with COVID-19 and those without COVID-19 but with COVID-19-like symptoms. These projections were based on the following, respectively:
- Various planning scenarios for the COVID-19 curve, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies Reasonable Worst-Case Scenario; and
- Modelling making use of historic data on incidence of illnesses that may present with COVID-19-like symptoms, referencing in particular historic data on general practitioner consultation rates for those with influenza-like illnesses. These historic rates will reflect a range of factors influencing the pattern of incidence of influenza-like illnesses, including the impact of the return to schools.
Projections of both elements of demand were, and remain, subject to a very high degree of uncertainty. Over time, the Department intends to publish detailed data from across the programme to support secondary analysis, for example in academic institutions. Over the coming weeks, as the service matures, more information will be provided on a weekly basis.