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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.

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