UK to double coronavirus testing to 25,000 a day within a fortnight, Cabinet minister claims
Members of the NHS are tested for Covid-19 at a drive-through facility at IKEA Wembley.
Britain will double the amount of coronavirus tests it is carrying out to 25,000 a day within two weeks, a Cabinet minister has claimed.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick made the prediction amid mounting criticism of the Government's attempts to ramp up testing across the country.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove claimed on Sunday that Downing Street had achieved its initial target of 10,000 tests a day, but that was found to be untrue.
Appearing on Sky News, Mr Jenrick said the UK now had the capacity to carry out 12,750 tests a day.
He said that would be increased to 15,000 "within days" and added: "That’s a significant increase but still not as far as we would like it to be, and mid-April is when we would expect to be at 25,000."
The minister also re-iterated Mr Gove's claim that a lack of necessary "reagents" was partly to blame for the Government's failure to carry out more tests - a claim denied by the Chemical Industries Association,
Mr Jenrick said: "The position is that you need a number of different ingredients to make an efficient test and we have some of the ingredients available in the UK but not all of them and so we need to bring together the right group of chemicals and other materials to produce the test.
"We are trying to do that, the industry is doing a fantastic job, but this is a huge effort. We’re importing material from overseas, but there’s extremely high demand internationally.
"We have some of the ingredients but not all of them. But the good news is that production is now increasing.
"We had 8,240 people tested on Monday. We have capacity to test about 12,700 people and so we’re going to use that spare capacity to start testing NHS workers."
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