UK public health officials have raised the prospect of home testing kits for coronavirus being sent out to residents now in home isolation.
Public Health England appeared to provide hope that the UK lockdown could be scaled back after announcing that testing kits were being assessed for household use.
People are currently having to obey strict rules about remaining indoors in a bid to stall the spread of coronavirus.
But testing kits could allow those who have had the deadly virus to return to their normal routines because health experts believe there is a period of immunity after having contracted the disease.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, confirmed plans were in place for "a million tests that people can do themselves".
"In other words, members of the public will be able to take a blood test and send it back in the post and get that analysed," she told the health and social care committee on Thursday.
"That is an antibody test that tells you if you have had the condition.
"That is absolutely critical for two reasons: to understand what is going on but also to allow people to return to work.
"That is well advanced but not ready yet. We need to be absolutely sure it is a valid test.
Prof Doyle said immunity was thought to be at its "strongest" for 28 days after fighting off the disease, but the period of protection could be longer.
In the committee's first virtual session, health professionals were critical of delays in testing those on the front line of treating Covid-19 patients.
The Government has vowed that it will roll out more testing of doctors, nurses and care workers but has so far prioritised patient testing.
Medical practitioner representatives said staff numbers were under strain as workers followed Government guidelines to self-isolate if they started showing coronavirus symptoms.
There's also concer doctors could be spreading the disease to patients while not displaying symptoms of Covid-19, given those infected can go without showing outward signs of being ill for three to five days in the majority of cases.
Australian Associated Press