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The UK is slipping further from the target of 100,000 coronavirus tests a day that it had set and achieved by the end of April, with fewer than 70,000 carried out in the last 24-hour period.
Just 69,463 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday, housing secretary Robert Jenrick told the daily Downing Street press conference.
Hancock announced last week that 122,347 tests had been conducted on Thursday, but since Saturday the UK has never subsequently returned to that high. That’s despite Boris Johnson on Wednesday setting the government a new target of having capacity to carry out 200,000 tests a day by the end of May.
Ministers have faced accusations of massaging the figures to meet the target set by Hancock by counting tests delivered to people’s homes that had not yet been returned to labs with a sample.
The number of tests stood at 84,806 on May 4, 85,126 on May 3, and 76,496 on May 2.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Far from delivering on the promise of 100,000 completed tests a day, testing numbers have now fallen three days in a row.
“A test, trace and isolate strategy is crucial to tackling this virus.
“Ministers needs to explain why the number of tests being completed daily is falling rather than rising.”