Coronavirus milestone: Tests for disease in UK reaches 10,000 a day for first time

29 March 2020, 11:00

Coronavirus tests have reached 10,000 a day for the first time, it has been confirmed
Coronavirus tests have reached 10,000 a day for the first time, it has been confirmed. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

The number of coronavirus tests carried out in Britain each day has hit 10,000 for the first time.

Michael Gove confirmed the number this morning but added that there was still "more to do" to ensure frontline health workers treating the disease are checked for Covid-19.

Amid criticism at the speed of testing being rolled out to crucial workers, the government is pledging to increase the number of tests to 25,000 a day by mid-April,

Speaking to Sky News' Sophy Ridge, Mr Gove said: "We have been increasing the number of tests and I can confirm today that the number of tests being carried out has hit 10,000 now - 10,000 a day.

"We want to increase that to 25,000 a day."

"We're increasing the number of people being tested all the time and, of course, it's NHS and social care frontline workers who are first in line for those new tests."

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Michael Gove said the aim is to have 25,000 tests each day
Michael Gove said the aim is to have 25,000 tests each day. Picture: PA
Boris Johnson is working in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19
Boris Johnson is working in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. Picture: PA

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said claimed the UK needed to ramp up its testing programme to cover larger chunks of the population.

He said: "I offer this, not as a criticism, but as constructive advice: In my view it is all about getting to mass testing as fast as possible, because we have to know who has the disease and who has had the disease in order to get the lockdown eased and get people back to work and get some semblance of normality back into our daily lives."

While Boris Johnson is working in isolation from Downing Street after testing positive for coronavirus, Mr Gove insisted the Prime Minister remained "very firmly in charge".

Mr Gove also confirmed that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is the "designated deputy" if Boris Johnson's condition worsened and he could no longer govern.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is the 'designated deputy' if Mr Johnson's condition should worsen
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is the 'designated deputy' if Mr Johnson's condition should worsen. Picture: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is also in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, tweeted that the testing milestone came a day ahead of schedule.

Mr Johnson has also written a letter to the nation, warning "things will get worse before they get better".

It comes amid allegations the government's advice to citizens has been confusing, and the letter will be accompanied by leaflets explained the rules on leaving the house.

A clear explanation of the symptoms will also be included as will guidance on hand washing.

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