Health Secretary admits frustration over coronavirus testing

Speaking at a virtual session of the Commons Health Committee on Friday, Matt Hancock said testing figures for the day before were just over 18,000. On Friday, Downing Street said the UK has the capacity to conduct 38,000 coronavirus tests a day. Asked by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt about the 100,000-a-day end of April target, he said: “I don’t think if we’d announced the 100,000 target a couple of weeks earlier as you suggest we would be in any different position now because we were continuing the drive to increase testing all along.” But Professor Anthony Costello, of University College London’s Institute for Global Health, warned there needed to be tests carried out at a district and community level. Speaking at the committee, he said: “Actually, I’m not sure we need 100,000 tests per day in reality if we can get this epidemic damped down. Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said sick NHS workers are being forced to drive two hours to be tested. These are in locations including Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Nottingham, Leeds and London, with the aim to open 50 centres across the country. Asked by Science and Technology Committee chairman Greg Clark whether asymptomatic health workers should be routinely tested, Mr Hancock said: “This is something that we are looking at.” He said the Government would be building up contact tracing teams as part of the “test, track and trace” strategy.