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6 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Government’s new 200,000 testing target refers to capacity, not tests carried out, No 10 says

By Samuel Horti

The government’s new target of 200,000 coronavirus tests a month relates to testing capacity, not the number of tests carried out, No 10 has said.

At today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson said that “the ambition clearly is to get up to 200,000 [tests] a day by the end of this month”. The government’s previous testing target, of 100,000 daily tests before the end of April, was for tests “carried out”, but the new target refers to testing capacity and will also include antibody tests, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said this afternoon.

Current testing capacity sits around 108,000.

Antibody tests tell you whether you have previously had the virus; current tests only tell you whether you have an active infection. The government has not yet rolled out a national antibody testing service because it has not found a test that is accurate enough.

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