UK hits 200,000 virus testing capacity – but actual numbers are lower


The target to build coronavirus testing capacity to 200,000 tests per day in the UK has been reached a day early, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The UK can now test more than 200,000 people for coronavirus per day.

In the 24-hour period up to 9am on Sunday, 115,725 tests were carried out or dispatched.

At the beginning of May Boris Johnson said he wanted to carry out 200,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

But within hours Downing Street clarified the Prime Minister’s remarks to say that the target number referred to capacity rather than actual tests.

The target fell short of Boris Johnson’s promise as long ago as March 25 that test numbers would “very soon” reach 250,000.

NEW: The Government says it reached 200,000 testing capacity yesterday.The PM promised to deliver this by the end of the month – No 10 clarified within hours he meant capacity rather than actual tests, which stood at 115,725 yesterday.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) May 31, 2020

Hancock told the daily Downing Street briefing: “Reaching our 200,000 capacity target is an important milestone on our journey to control the spread of the virus, save lives and gradually ease lockdown.

“By rapidly expanding our testing capacity we have been able to introduce NHS Test and Trace, and enabling those who have coronavirus symptoms to get a test is an important part of the programme.

“I want to thank and pay tribute to the incredible team who joined together in one of the greatest national mobilisations that we’ve seen.

“We brought together the best minds in the civil service, NHS, PHE, universities and the scientific community, the armed forces and private sector companies across the globe to reach this incredible achievement.

“This is by no means the end of our ramping up of testing.

“We will continue to build upon the tremendous work so far, exploring new technology and deliver even more test results.”

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