The UK government is aiming to test 25,000 a day for Covid-19 within a fortnight, housing minister Robert Jenrick has said.
Downing Street is facing mounting criticism over a perceived lack of testing compared with other nations, with only 143,186 carried out to date. By comparison, Germany is testing 70,000 a day.
The UK’s Covid-19 death toll jumped 381 in a single day yesterday, with overall fatalities standing at 1,789. More than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus.
Asked when the country will be up to 25,000 tests a day, Jenrick told Sky’s Kay Burley: “We’ve said that we hope to be in that position by mid-April. We think within days we’ll be able to go from our present capacity, as I say, of 12,750, to 15,000. So that’s a significant increase but still not as far as we’d like it to be.
“And then mid-April is when we expect to be at 25,000. But we now do have enough tests, and this is an important point I was trying to make, to test not just those patients in critical care but to begin to test NHS staff which is obviously absolutely essential.”