Matt Hancock says coronavirus 'continues its grim march'

  • Matt Hancock says coronavirus 'continues its grim march'

Matt Hancock says coronavirus 'continues its grim march'

The UK's chief nurse Ruth May also asked Brits to "stay at home for them" - a reference to NHS workers who are risking their lives on the front line battling coronavirus.

The UK has ordered several antibody tests but so far they have been said to be ineffective.

There have been some questions raised as to whether or not increasing the number of daily tests to 100,000 is achievable, particularly as the Government managed less than 11,000 yesterday.

The health secretary said he had also made £300m available for community pharmacies and that he wanted to make sure "every part" of the health and care system was supported.

Speaking at a press conference the Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock defended his decision to prioritise testing of patients over NHS staff and said he thought any health secretary would have done the same.

"That's before the addition we'll get from the Nightingale hospitals", Mr Hancock said.

He added that he was "setting the goal" of reaching 100,000 tests per day by the end of April - up from the current 10,000 - as part of a "five-pillar plan". The government is working with the companies that will be providing them.

"That means that three-quarters of cases, that test would have given the false comfort of sending someone with coronavirus back on the wards".

However, Hancock told a press conference on Friday that G7 leaders had discussed on Friday the search for an effective antibody test and revealed that none had yet been identified which would be suitable for mass use.

Department of Health officials were unable to offer a precise route map of how to get to 100,000 tests a day because of the complexity of organising the different public and private providers that will be helping with the tests.

Spain was recently forced to return thousands of testing kits after they were found to have a 30% detection rate.

Health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday announced a five-pillar plan which includes "ramping up" the use of antigen tests for those who might now have the Covid-19 virus and antibody tests for those who might have had it before and since recovered.