Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
12 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Daily testing drops below 100,000 again as UK statistics chief urges more “trustworthiness“

By Samuel Horti

Less than 86,000 coronavirus tests were carried out yesterday, far short of the government’s 100,000 target. 

The government hit its target for the first time in nine days on Sunday, but on Monday the number of tests fell to 85,293.

The news comes after Sir David Norgrove, the chair of the Statistics Authority, the UK statistics regulator, called for more “trustworthiness” in the government’s testing data.

In an open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Norgrove said the government should ensure more transparency in its figures. Ministers should state whether the 100,000 target, along with the government’s target for 200,000 tests by the end of May, refers to testing capacity, tests that have been administered, test results received, or the number of people testing, he said.

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. 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 weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

“It would support trustworthiness for the testing data [if they were] more straightforward to find, with detailed breakdowns and richer commentary.”

The government previously moved the goalposts on its 100,000 target: initially it pledged to “carry out” 100,000 tests, but later included tests that had merely been sent out to households in its counting.