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4 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Daily coronavirus tests dips below 80,000, well short of government target

By Samuel Horti

The number of daily coronavirus tests has dipped well below Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s 100,000 target amid criticism from care homes of the government’s “shambolic” testing regime.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday 1 May that the government had met its target of carrying out 100,000 tests by the end of April, and that the number of tests on 30 April exceeded 122,000. However, that figure included 40,000 tests that were counted when they were sent out to households or healthcare settings, including care homes, rather than when they were carried out. The latest daily figure shows that less than 77,000 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, 3 May, even including those that had been mailed out.

Of 31,000 tests sent to care homes since 28 April, just 2,300 had been carried out as of this morning, according to a report in the Guardian. Care home leaders have criticised the lack of clarity about who can carry out the tests, with one social services director, who oversees hundreds of care homes, telling the paper: “There’s a major flaw in this plan. Residential care staff are not registered to carry out this procedure. Yesterday not a single person was swabbed in any of our care homes. It’s another fiasco.”

On Friday, the chief executive of MHA, the UK’s largest charitable care home provider, called the government’s testing regime “completely shambolic”.

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