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A health minister insisted that the government was “on schedule” to perform 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month – despite a drop in the number of cases.
Edward Argar said the ministers were working “hard” to meet the target set by Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week.
The most recent test figures released on Tuesday showed that 14,003 had taken place in the past 24 hours.
But it was on 16,000 Downing Street announced the day before.
Despite these statistics, Argar told Radio Four Today: “The government has made it clear that we will have 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.
“We are seeing rapid increases. I think the last numbers I saw were around 14,000 tests a day, which is significantly higher than it was a few days ago, so I think we are firmly on the right track for that. “
“My boss, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of Health, is determined to achieve this goal.
“He knows how important it is, he is attached to it, like the whole government.
“We are working hard to make sure we reach this goal. “
Argar’s comments came after Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer of health, admitted that Germany – which tests 500,000 people a week – had left the UK in its response to the pandemic.
He said: “We all know that Germany has gotten ahead in terms of the ability to test for the virus, and there is much to be learned from this. “