News | Published April 02 2020

Johnson says government need to "massively ramp up" coronavirus testing

It has been revealed that of some half a million NHS staff working on the frontline amid the coronavirus pandemic, only 2,000 have been tested for the virus thus far.

Following this, prime minister Boris Johnson said that the best way to “unlock the puzzle” of coronavirus was widespread testing.

He continued that the government needed to "massively ramp up" testing in order to allow those who are unnecessarily self-isolating to return to work.

Johnson is currently self-isolating in Downing Street, having contracted the virus himself, has been criticised for the government’s testing strategy.

At present, around 13,000 tests are made available each day, almost half of the government set target of 25,000.

According to Shami Chakrabarti of the Labour party, the testing pace indicated "a lack of clarity of what the plan is and how it is going to be executed".

Chief executive of the Francis Crick institute, Sir Paul Nurse, compared the effort required to test people to a Dunkirk-style effort.

He said that: "We are a lot of little boats and the little boats can be effective.

“The government has put some big boats, destroyers in place. That's a bit more cumbersome to get working and we wish them all the luck to do that, but we little boats can contribute as well."

In a Twitter video yesterday evening, Johnson said that: "I want to say a special word about testing, because it is so important, and as I have said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through.”

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
April 02 2020

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