UK will meet 100k testing target or be ‘very close’ minister says


Robert Jenrick told Sky News that Thursday’s figures would be released later today, and he was hopeful of a huge ramping up in the final day.

A nurse prepares to take a sample at a COVID 19 drive through testing centre

Health Secretary Matt Hancock set the ambitious target earlier this month as part of a promise to increase the numbers being done.

He has expanded the criteria meaning that 25million NHS staff, key workers and others who need to leave the house to go to their job can now get a test.

Yesterday Boris Johnson revealed that the country was 20,000 short of the target.

The Housing Secretary said: “I think we will have either met it or be very close.”

“In that sense the target will have succeeded because it will have galvanised people across government, in the private sector and across the country to build the network that we needed to, which is the foundation of testing, tracking and tracing, which we need in the next phase of fighting the virus.”

He added: “This in itself is just a stepping stone.

“We need to go beyond 100,000, but we have now seen a very substantial increase in testing in quite a short period of time.

“In that sense, it’s been a success. But there’s more to be done.”

Grant Shapps echoed the same words last night, telling BBC Newsnight: “At the beginning of the week we only had 5,000 home tests available, we now have 20,000 available and it’s the reason we are quite likely to get very close to or meet the 100,000 target.”

Home testing kits have been flying this week, with ministers releasing nearly 15,000 a day direct to doorsteps.

A government source also told the BBC they were “fairly confident” that testing numbers “will be where our projections forecasted them to be”.

“But you can never take anything for granted,” they added.

Matt Hancock set the ambitious target of getting to 100,000 a day by the end of April