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UK exceeds target for testing 100,000 people for Covid-19 a day, claiming more than 122,000 done yesterday

By Scott Maclennan

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UK health secretary Matt Hancock.
UK health secretary Matt Hancock.

The UK has exceeded the target set at the start of April of 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day according to health secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock confirmed at the Downing Street briefing that on the last day of April a total of 122,347 tests were carried out in what he said was an essential step to “unlocking the lockdown.”

He said the development was a national achievement and argued that setting the “audacious” target helped to galvanise efforts despite there being many who doubted that it could be reached.

Mr Hancock outlined how efforts involved creating three super-labs to process the results while testing facilities can reach every part of the country delivered by the armed forces and even the creation of a new test.

He said: “At the beginning of last month, I set a goal that anyone who needs a test should get a test and that as a nation we should achieve 100,000 tests per day by the end of the month.

“I knew that it was an audacious goal but we needed an audacious goal because testing is so important to getting Britain back on her feet. I can announce that we have met our goal.

“The number of tests yesterday on the last day of April was 122,347. This unprecedented expansion in British testing capability is an incredible achievement, but it is not my achievement.

“It is a national achievement, achieved by huge team of people working together – the testing capacity that we have built together will help every single person in this country, testing is crucial to suppress the virus.

“I know from personal experience too just how much people with symptoms want to know if they've got the disease, I know that I did, it helps remove the worry it helps keep people safe and it will help us to unlock the lock down.

“So many people tragically died and the challenge that we still face is vast but we're making real progress. I want to take a moment to thank and pay tribute to the incredible team who did this together and who joined in one of the greatest national mobilisations that we've seen.

“We brought together the best civil servants, the best minds from the private sector, the best scientists, the best lab technicians and the best of the best in the Armed Forces.

“Setting stretching ambitious goals in a crisis has a galvanizing effect on everybody involved – it is a mission. If we hadn’t been so bold, if we had chosen a safer easier path I just can't see how we would have built the capacity that we need in a few short weeks.

“We've created a new test for the Virus in PHP and we built a network of regional testing centres. We put a fleet of mobile testing units on the road and created home testing kits, so if you can't get to the test we can get a test to you.”

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