Boris Johnson Pledges All Covid Tests Will Be Carried Out Within 24 Hours By End Of June

PM sets new target for all coronavirus checks except postal test kits.

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Boris Johnson has pledged to turn around all Covid-19 tests within 24 hours by the end of June.

Speaking in the Commons, the prime minister set the new target for all test results, except for postal kits where the postage may mean it takes longer.

It comes as the government faces heavy criticism that its Test and Trace programme was launched too early and that easing the lockdown may be premature.

Johnson was answering a question from former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was pressing on how many tests were already being done within a 24-hour period and when he could commit to all being done.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.

The PM said 90% of the tests were carried out within 48 hours.

He went on: “Of the tests conducted at the 199 testing centres as well as mobile test centres, they are all done within 24 hours – and I can undertake to him now to get all tests turned around in 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal test and insuperable problems like that.”

The government boasts that the UK now has a 200,000 daily capacity for testing of coronavirus.

The latest figures show that around 116,000 of Tuesday’s capacity related to swab tests for the general public – labelled “pillar two” of the government’s national testing strategy.

Ministers have refused to say how many checks within “pillar two” are postal home test kits – the type excluded from Johnson’s new target.

But health secretary Matt Hancock has faced two warnings from the statistics watchdog over its inadequate testing data, which it says is “still far from complete and comprehensible”.

UK Statistics Authority chair Sir David Norgrove said in a letter to ministers that “it is not surprising that, given their inadequacy, data on testing are so widely criticised and often mistrusted”.


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