PM to DOUBLE coronavirus testing capacity to half a million a DAY by end of October
CORONAVIRUS testing capacity will be doubled to half a million a DAY by the end of October, the Prime Minister today revealed.
Boris Johnson said that the Government aims to carry out 3.5 million antigen tests a week – amid fears of a second Covid wave this winter.
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Speaking at Downing Street today, he said: "Antigen test capacity, that's the test which tells you if you currently have the virus, has increased 100-fold since the start of March – from fewer than 2,000 tests a day to more than 200,000 tests a day now."
He added that data suggests the UK is carrying out more tests than anywhere in Europe.
"We have set up testing sites in the UK which can be rapidly deployed wherever they are needed."
The PM said that it has been the case for sometime that anyone in the UK can now get a test without delay if they have symptoms.
He said more people are being testing who don't have symptoms but are at higher risk.
"We will further increase testing capacity to at least half a million antigen tests a day and 3.5 million antigen tests a week by the end of October."
He added that demand for testing is not the only challenge that comes with winter and said it was possible the virus would be worse in winter months and that the NHS would face usual winter pressure.
Setting out an extra £3 billion in funding for the NHS, he said: "Demand for testing is not the only challenge that winter will bring.
"It's possible that the virus will be more virulent in the winter months and it's certain that the NHS will face the usual annual winter pressures."
He added: "We're making sure we're ready for winter and planning for the worst.
"But even as we plan for the worst I strongly believe we should hope for the best.
"That means looking ahead with optimism, now extending our plan to lift the remaining national measures, which have restricted our lives since March, so we can get back to something closer to normal life."
Mr Johnson said the number of ventilators had been increased from 9,000 before the pandemic to nearly 30,000 now.
The Government has also increased personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and now has 30 billion items, the PM siad.
He also highlighted the biggest flu programme, which Matt Hancock revealed earlier this week.
It came during a sweeping speech where Boris unveiled a series of measures to get Britain working.
This included putting a timeline on social distancing measures so that Brits can finally hug their loved ones.
A PR blitz will now encourage Brits to get a virus test and promote walk-in testing sites.
He added: "While we mourn every death, the average daily death rate has started to fall".
He said intelligence on where the virus is spreading has been "drastically improved", which has allowed the government to take action on a local level.
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