Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the government has surpassed its target of 100,000 tests a day for the COVID-19 Coronavirus by the end of April.
Mr Hancock said “the testing capacity we’ve built together will help every single person in this country”. 122,347 tests for the virus were provided on Thursday, another significant day-on-day increase.
The government has though changed the criteria for counting tests. The figure for the number of tests now includes some home testing kits which have been dispatched but not yet returned and processed. Previously, only tests that were confirmed to have been carried out were counted in the figures.
The change in criteria for tests that are included in the figures has sparked questions and allegations that the government has been “moving the goalposts”.
The Health Secretary has paid tribute to the large number of businesses, scientists, academics and experts who have helped the government reach its testing goal. Mr Hancock said he was proud of what had been achieved by everyone working together.
Mr Hancock also announced that the NHS is to resume fertility services now that the country has passed the peak of the Coronavirus. He also said that a new app will be able to tell people if they have been in contact with people who have the virus. He said a strategy of ‘Test, Track and Trace’ will help get ‘R’ down and help in the lifting of lockdown measures.
Professor Newton explained at the briefing that the decision to enter the lockdown was not based on the availability of testing, but that the increased availability will help us to come out of it. He said that the testing system will be used to keep patients and staff safe in care services and to keep track of how the virus is spreading. He added that the testing system that has been built over the last few weeks is ‘world-leading in its scale and sophistication’.
The daily Coronavirus briefing from Downing Street came as the latest figures showed that 27,510 have died in all UK settings after contracting the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)