UK ‘likely’ to hit 100,000 virus test targets

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Woman testing
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PA Media

The UK is “very likely to come close to or reach” its target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would meet the target by the end of April – which was Thursday – and that these figures are expected later.

Just over 81,000 tests took place on Wednesday, but Shapps said in question hour that there was more capacity.

This comes as the Prime Minister said that the UK has now “passed the peak” of the epidemic.

Speaking about the goal of daily testing on Thursday evening, Shapps said “the point is to have tests available.”

He continued: “At the start of the week we only had 5,000 home tests available, we now have 20,000 available and that is why we are very likely to get close to or reach ‘100,000 goal.’

A government source also told the BBC that it was “fairly confident” that the test numbers “will be where our forecasts predicted.”

“But you can never take anything for granted,” they added.

“Global Plan”

Speaking at briefing # 10 for the first time since he was hospitalized for Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government “massively intensified” the tests and that the country was now “au- beyond the peak of this disease. “

The Prime Minister added that he would present a “comprehensive plan” next week on how to restart the economy, reopen schools and help people get to work after the coronavirus shutdown.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to table a plan next week as “a step in the right direction.”

Some 26,771 people died from the virus in the UK, an increase from 674.


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Media captionBoris Johnson: UK ‘surpassed the peak of this disease’

Johnson said to avoid the “catastrophe” of a second spike, the UK must keep the R rate – the number of people to whom an infected person will spread the virus – below one.

  • Coronavirus: Is R the crucial number?

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg asked how high the reproductive rate should be before the government is “comfortable easing the restrictions.”

The government’s chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, replied, “We are absolutely convinced that the wrong answer is more than one. “

He explained that as soon as the R exceeds one, you “restart exponential growth” and “sooner or later” the NHS may be exceeded. The current rate is said to be between 0.6 and 0.9 across the country.

The government has established five tests that must be completed before the lockout restrictions can be relaxed, including:

  • make sure the NHS can cope
  • a “sustained and constant” drop in the daily mortality rate
  • infection rates falling to “manageable levels”
  • ensure the supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand
  • and be confident that any adjustment would not risk a second spike “which overwhelms the NHS”

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EPA
Legend

Johnson was among those who joined the Clap for Carers nationwide Thursday evening

Prime Minister said it was “vital” to avoid a second peak “because it would really cause economic damage”, adding that the UK had to “gradually unlock the economy” while finding ways to continue suppress the disease.

He said the dates and times for each individual measure would be determined “where we are in the epidemic”, and said the government “is guided by science”.

“What you’re going to get next week is really a roadmap, a menu of options,” said Johnson.





Facial masks

Johnson also said that the face covers would be “useful” as part of the lockout exit strategy “both for epidemiological reasons but also to give people reassurance that they can return to work.” job “.

The Scottish government already recommends that people cover their faces in shops and public transport.

And Mr. Shapps said in question hour that there was a “live discussion” in government over the introduction of new airport quarantine measures for people entering the country.

Still on the BBC One program, former Chancellor George Osborne said the country had not done the tests “as quickly as we would like” and that it locked out too late, but added: “The hospitals did not fall and the capacity was built. “


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Media captionFor the sixth consecutive week, people across the UK cheered for caregivers

Meanwhile, people from across the country took part in the sixth Clap for Carers tribute to thank NHS staff and caregivers.

Johnson was photographed applauding in front of No. 10, while fiancée Carrie Symonds – who gave birth to the couple’s son on Wednesday – tweeted that she was joining the flap and had “another wonderful reason to thank the NHS this week. “

During the briefing, Johnson also thanked the NHS and referred to his “much happier hospital visit yesterday”.

The total number of deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in UK hospitals and the wider community is now 26,771, according to data released by the Department of Health and Welfare.

This differs from the total of 26,711 originally announced by Mr. Johnson at the briefing.



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