Government 'on target' to reach 100,000 coronavirus tests per day this week

27 April 2020, 08:26

The Government has expanded testing capacity across the UK
The Government has expanded testing capacity across the UK. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health minister Edward Argar has told LBC he is confident the Government is on target to reach 100,000 coronavirus tests per day this week.

A further 70,000 people will need to be tested on a daily basis to meet the target set by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

More than 10 million essential workers and their households are now eligible for coronavirus checks as officials race to hit their 100,000-a-day testing target.

"The target is still very much there. It is a Government target and we are massively ramping up the efforts to do this," Mr Argar said.

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"There is a few days to go but we are confident that we are on target for that, not least with the expansion last week with who is eligible to actually access those tests now.

"It is huge numbers of people and we have seen how many have tried to access those tests in the past few days.

"I expect we will see exponential increases every day up to that target being met."

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Mr Argar, was asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari about reports that some NHS staff were waiting 25 days to receive their test results, said he would investigate the issue.

He told LBC: "The test results should be within around 48 hours.

"Longer delays than that - and there may be in some cases a scientific, clinical reason why a particular test doesn't work or is delayed.

"But that is not something people should have to wait for."

He added: "The overwhelming majority are being done within 48 hours.

"I haven't had any reports of significant numbers being significantly delayed but I'm always happy to look into that. And if there are delays, we will fix them."

Some 46,000 people tried to book a coronavirus test on Friday, but, within two minutes of the website going live at 6am, all 5,000 tests for people to carry out at home had been booked.

Under the expansion of the testing, NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production are among those now eligible.

Test booking slots or home testing kits will become available from 8am each day, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said, with their release staggered throughout the day.