Michael Gove today revealed the huge surge in the number of tests, but admitted there was still work to do to beat the virus.
Appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Gove also refused to say when all frontline NHS staff will get access to the checks.
The senior Minister said: “Well, we have been increasing the number of tests and I can confirm today that the number of tests being carried out is 10,000 now and we want to increase that – 10,000 a day – and we want to increase that to 25,000 a day.
“Just last week the Prime Minister authorised the new programme of testing so working with research institutes and also with companies like Boots, we are now in a position to be able to test more.”
It came as a report in the Sunday Telegraph revealed the the tests were taking four days to return results.
A senior consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals warned the average turnaround time so far has been three to four days, while at Hull Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust results have allegedly been taking 72 hours.
The Cambridge consultant said: “I have never seen colleagues so concerned.
“There is fear and real anger because they can see what is coming.
“People just don’t get the apocalyptic nature of this situation.”
Yesterday, Boris Johnson said the situation would “get worse before it gets better”.
In a letter being sent to households across the UK this week, the PM suggests the government will not hesitate to enforce further lockdown measures if needed.
His letter states: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better.
“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”
He added: “We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”