PM Blames Colossal Spike In Demand For Test Problems


PM Blames Colossal Spike In Demand For Test Problems

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the coronavirus testing system, saying it is trying to meet a “colossal spike” in demand.

It comes as the government said it was drawing up a list setting out who will be prioritised for tests.

Care home residents and staff are likely to be near the top of the list, as Mr Johnson acknowledged ministers were concerned about infection rates.

The PM told MPs a new “action plan” for care homes will be released this week.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said schools could be considered for priority testing.

On Wednesday, coronavirus cases in the UK increased by 3,991, taking the total to 378,219, according to figures from the government.

A further 20 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. This brings the UK death total by this criteria to 41,684.

Mr Johnson said 89% of those who have in-person tests get them the next day.

He told Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “I think most people looking at the record of this country in delivering tests across this nation will see that it actually compares extremely well with any other European country.”

The PM had promised that all in-person test results would be back within 24 hours by the end of June.

He acknowledged the frustration around the demand for tests, but said capacity was being increased, with the government wanting 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

Mr Johnson admitted “we are concerned about the rates of infection in care homes” and promised a new action plan for the sector would be released this week.

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Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, was standing in for Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs as Sir Keir was self-isolating due to a family member showing symptoms and awaiting the results of a test, which has since been returned as negative.

She told MPs Mr Johnson needed to “get some skates on” to address the issues.

“Those care workers are still not getting the PPE they need, they’re still not getting the testing they need,” she said.

PM Blames Colossal Spike In Demand For Test Problems

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