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22 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Lunchtime summary: Who tracks the tests?

By Samuel Horti

We still don’t know how many coronavirus tests are carried out every day in the UK. We know what the government tally is, but that includes tests that are merely posted out to households, rather than tests that are actually completed. And as the UK’s testing chief suggested this morning, many of those tests sent out effectively go to waste.

“Over half” of the tests posted out to both households and satellite centres, which distribute them to healthcare settings such as care homes, were carried out (ie, returned to labs) in the early stages of the system, Professor John Newton told MPs. Among satellite centres, it was a “very large proportion”, suggesting figures for home test kits might be lower. Newton couldn’t provide up to date figures, but promised to. They will make interesting reading.

In other news, one of the UK’s leading scientists has criticised the government’s lack of strategy, saying the country is “desperate for clear leadership at all levels”, while a BBC survey showed that only a fifth of councils have advised schools to reopen on 1 June, when the government intends to the next phase of lifting lockdown.

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