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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.

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

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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.