Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
21 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

No 10 stands by Hancock’s 100,000 coronavirus tests target

By Samuel Horti

No 10 has stood by Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s target of reaching 100,000 daily coronavirus tests before the end of the month.

This morning, the Telegraph quoted a Downing Street source as saying the target was “irrational”, but the Prime Minister’s spokesman told a press briefing this afternoon that the source was simply “wrong”. 100,000 daily tests before the end of April remained the government’s target, he said. The health service now has capacity for 39,000 tests a day, but it is administering less than half of that number, according to the latest figures.

This morning, New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush wrote about why the target is meaningless unless the government links it to a specific objective, such as preventing hospitals key workers from becoming vectors of infection. You can read his piece in full here.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman also said that Boris Johnson would speak to US President Donald Trump later today about the coronavirus, and that Johnson would speak with the Queen later this week. However, the spokesman insisted the conversations did not amount to the PM returning to work.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
The shrinking road to net zero
The tree-planting misconception
Is your business ready for corporate climate reporting?