Britain to Target 100,000 Daily Coronavirus Tests by April End

Donald Trump is considering banning some domestic flights within the US

Donald Trump is considering banning some domestic flights within the US Credit Win McNamee Getty Images

Reaction to Health Secretary Matt Hancock's mass testing pledge dominates the nation's front pages.

- What will the 100,000 tests a day be made up of?

Mr Hancock cautioned that no antibody tests have been approved by Public Health England and it could be some time before they are introduced in the UK. We don't know yet whether somebody who has had this virus is immune.

But the government and in particular his department is coming under increased scrutiny for a lack of testing, especially within the date just 5,000 of more than 500,000 medics have been checked for the virus.

He described it as "frustrating" that none have worked, explaining: "Essentially, a really good home test has not been invented yet".

Hancock said the government is "currently confident" that the United Kingdom has the supply of medicines needed.

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People caring for them should also cover up whenever they are in the same room as the patient to prevent the spread of the virus. Theresa Tam said masks may even tempt people to touch their faces more often and therefore, increase their risk of infection.

"Money is no object here, what matters is getting the country out of this situation as quickly as possible".

- How many tests are being done now? But it is still a huge jump from the previous goal of 25,000 a day, and an even bigger leap from the current 12,799 capacity.

Mr Hancock said there are now around 8,000 patients a day who need to be tested for Covid-19.

He said "over the next couple of weeks" the testing figures for frontline staff "should" rise to thousands a day.

Emerging from a week in isolation after falling sick with the virus himself, Hancock sought to show the government is in control of the situation after a slew of reports in the United Kingdom media criticizing ministers for acting too late in tackling the pandemic, leaving the National Health Service ill-equipped and unable to test the population in sufficient numbers.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

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Hancock continued: "We're set for a warm weekend in some parts of the country, but the disease is still spreading and we absolutely can not afford to relax the social distancing measures we've put in place".

Scientists also remain unsure about the extent to which a past infection could prevent reinfection and how long an immunity would remain.

He added: "That is something we will be doing and will look at, but it is too early in the science ... to be able to put clarity around that".

Mr Hancock said the goal can include antigen tests, which tell people whether they now have Covid-19, as well as antibody tests to see whether people have previously had the infection.

They urged caution and stressed the importance of making sure the supply chain is secured, as testing is ramped up, warning of the "very real risk" that hospitals and pathology networks could run out of reagents.

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