Iain Dale challenges minister over government failing to meet 100,000 tests a day target

5 May 2020, 22:07

Iain Dale challenges housing minister Robert Jenrick over the government failing to meet its 100,000 tests a day target for the third day in a row.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Friday that the benchmark, which he set in early April for the end of the month, had been achieved with 122,000 tests carried out - it emerged that a third of these were test packages delivered in the post but not yet processed by labs.

Iain Dale asked minister Robert Jenrick why the figures this weekend and today had fallen below 100,000.

"That's very embarrassing for the government, isn't it, given the reassurance we had that it would be 100,000 every day. What's your reaction to this figure today because a lot of people feel they were hoodwinked on Friday and it was all about saving Matt Hancock's political skin?"

The housing minister responded, "The main thing was to get capacity up very significantly and that has happened. If you think back in February, capacity was I think 2,000 tests a day.

"By the end of March that had risen to 10,000 tests a day. So to end April at or around 100,000 tests a day - and I appreciate it's fallen somewhat in the days since then...you've still seen very significant increases in testing capacity.

"That's extremely important because the network that we now need to use to build the test, track and trace infrastructure is going to be important for the longer term tackling of the virus.

"We're also seeing more capacity coming on, there are more labs being opened up, there are more mobile units that the Ministry of Defence are helping us to develop across the country...to focus those tests on the people that really need them like the care home workers and residents."