Coronavirus UK deaths rise by 739 as 100,000-a-day testing target ‘hit’
PUBLISHED: 18:05 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:58 01 May 2020
The Government claims it has hit its target for 100,000 coronavirus tests per day, as it confirmed another 739 had died from the disease.
A total of 27,510 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, up from 26,771 the day before.
The Government said it had hit its target for 100,000 coronavirus tests per day it was also announced, with Mr Hancock saying it was an “incredible achievement”. There were, however, some criticism of how that target had been reached.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing, he said 122,347 tests were performed in the 24 hours up to 9am on Friday, adding that testing would help “unlock” the lockdown.
He said that the testing capacity built would “help every single person in this country” and that testing is “crucial to suppress the virus” and would “help us to unlock the lockdown”.
He added: “Setting stretching, ambitious goals in a crisis has a galvanising effect on everybody involved. It is a mission.
“If we hadn’t been so bold, if we’d chosen a safer, easier path, I just can’t see how we would have built the capacity that we need.”
MORE: Who can get tested for coronavirus and how can they do it?
The government said it is planning to open 50 drive-through testing sites by the end of April, with the aim that most people will not have to drive for more than 45 minutes to get to a regional testing site.
In Norfolk, testing bases are at the Centrum centre, near the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn.
A clutch of new mobile testing stations are also being set up in towns across Norfolk and Waveney, including Croimer, Fakenham, Thetford, Diss and Lowestoft.
Meeting the 100,000 target comes as doubts were cast over how the tests have been counted.
Guidance on the official Government website appears to have changed in the days before the testing deadline.
In the days prior to April 28, there was no reference to how tests were counted. But on April 28, the guidance said the count included: “(i) test conducted with a result and (ii) test posted to an individual at home.”
On April 30, the page stated that the number of tests includes “tests processed through our labs (and) tests sent to individuals at home or to satellite testing locations”.
MORE: Behind the scenes of the drive-through carrying out 130 Covid-19 tests per day
Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “We want the Government’s test, isolate and trace strategy to succeed and welcomed expanding who was eligible to get a test, but counting a test put in the post is not the same as a conducted test and getting results.
“Ministers should focus on making sure these tests are administered effectively rather than moving the goalposts to hit their own arbitrary target.”
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