Government pledges 100000 daily Covid-19 tests, but NHS staff wait

Henrietta Brewer
April 5, 2020

Mr Hancock said he wanted to thank everyone who has stayed at home as they are "giving the NHS the time to expand so that it can save lives".

An anonymous source claimed on Thursday that the United Kingdom government had projected April 12 to be the worst day for deaths across the country - with 3,611 people already losing their lives to the virus so far, said the Metro newspaper report on Friday.

The health secretary also announced that £13 billion ($16.1bn) of debt owed by NHS hospital trusts would be written off, and an extra £300 million ($371m) will be given to community pharmacies.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, speaking at the daily Government press briefing, said the coronavirus "continues its grim march" before he reiterated the latest data of tests and deaths.

On Friday, Mr Hancock said now no antibody tests have been "pencilled in" as part of the 100,000 figure. Hancock is said to be continuing with social distancing measures to make sure that he does not contract the virus again.

On Thursday, Mr Hancock unveiled a five-point strategy for reaching 100,000 tests a day by the end of this month after the Government faced repeated criticism for being too slow on testing. The government is working with the companies that will be providing them.

The country has so far reported a total of 38,690 coronavirus cases.

Hancock set the target of carrying out 100,000 tests per day in NHS hospitals and the labs of Public Health England, compared with the previous target of 25,000 per day by mid-April.

"We are looking at an immunity certificate - how people who have had the disease, have got the antibodies and therefore have immunity can show that and so get back as much as possible to normal life", Mr Hancock said at a press conference yesterday.

Department of Health officials were unable to offer a precise route map of how to get to 100,000 tests a day because of the complexity of organising the different public and private providers that will be helping with the tests.

The IBMS urged the Government to be cautious when ramping up testing and ensure that supply chains were secured.

"There is some anecdotal data in the published domain that there are a proportion of people who do indeed lose their sense of taste and smell", he said.

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