Iain Dale confronts Tory MP on "embarrassing" daily test figures

6 May 2020, 20:37 | Updated: 6 May 2020, 20:44

By Fiona Jones

Iain Dale confronted this Tory MP over the government's "embarrassing" failure to reach its 100,000 tests a day target for the fourth day in a row.

"It's a bit of an embarrassment, isn't it, that only 69,000 tests were done today when we were told it would be over 100,000 every day after last Thursday?" asked Iain.

Today marked the fourth consecutive day after the government has failed to reach its 100,000 tests a day target - today's figure was 43% lower than last Thursday.

Tory MP for South Cambridgeshire Anthony Browne responded, "What really matters that everybody who wants a test gets a test.. everyone who wants a test in a care home should get a test if they want it. It doesn't mean they all have to get tested every single day."

"What we need to do is make sure we increase the capacity and increase the availability of testing, making sure it's easier for people to get testing.

"There have been complaints that some of the driving centres are quite far to get to from care homes, which is why the government's been rolling out far more mobile units, bringing the test to where the people are instead of people going to the tests."

Iain said while the number of tests carried out daily is exponentially larger than a few weeks ago, today's number shows it is "going back in the opposite direction."

"Then the Prime Minister appears in the Commons saying the ambition is 200,000 tests a day. There is something going wrong not only in the messaging here but in the implementation," he continued.

Mr Browne said, "It was a Herculean effort ramping the testing up, we're not a country that had a big diagnostics industry in the first place like Germany. A lot of this we've had to start from scratch and it's been a huge national effort involving private companies and public sectors and it has been a major achievement.

"There were lots of people who had been wanting tests who could suddenly get them. That might be one of the reasons why it peaked there."

"Clearly as numbers go down overall, number of cases, and the deaths go down, and the fear of the virus goes down longer term...then you probably won't have so much testing."

Mr Browne added that when people returning to work there will be an increased demand for tests.