Government claims victory in race to meet 100,000 daily coronavirus tests target
- Credit: PA
Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has claimed the government has met its 100,000 daily coronavirus testing target.
Mr Hancock made the ambitious target last month, in a bid to bring the virus under control in the UK.
Speaking at the daily government press conference on Friday, May 1, Mr Hancock said the government had surpassed its target, carrying out 122,347 tests on April 30 – the final day for his target.
Mr Hancock said: “This is how we did it - because everybody worked together, with grit and determination, to reach a shared goal.
“They thrived because the team contained diversity of perspectives, background and, critically, diversity of thought.
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“And when things went wrong, which they did every single day, believe me, we didn’t ask who we could blame, we asked how we could fix it.
“To my team, I want to say you toiled tirelessly night and day and I’m so proud of what you have achieved.
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“To all of you, on behalf of Government, on behalf of the whole country, thank you.”
The target comes following a ramping up of testing capacity across the country, while the criteria for those eligible for testing has expanded to include all keyworkers, the over 65s and those who are unable to work from home.
All NHS staff, carers and care home residents who are asymptomatic were also made eligible for free tests.
Among the new testing facilities which opened across the UK is the Copdock drive-through centre on the outskirts of Ipswich, which as of April 29 had tested 3,000 people for the virus since it opened on April 17.
The government’s figure has come under fire however, with government guidance changing on April 30 to include “tests processed through our labs (and) tests sent to individuals at home or to satellite testing locations”.
The Health Service Journal reported at least 50,000 of the announced tests covered the ordering or mailing of tests.
Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “We want the Government’s test, isolate and trace strategy to succeed and welcomed expanding who was eligible to get a test, but counting a test put in the post is not the same as a conducted test and getting results.
“Ministers should focus on making sure these tests are administered effectively rather than moving the goalposts to hit their own arbitrary target.”