The presentation from Matthew Hancock yesterday has been for very obvious reasons largely focused on the PPE equipment that is needed to protect people working in the Hospitals and other settings. However another critical issue is the ability of the Government and its agencies to test who has got C-19 and as we know back on the 2nd April Matthew Hancock set out a target for 100,000 daily tests to take place by the end of April. As he explained at the time, there were 10,000 daily tests taking place at the time within the NHS on behalf of the Hospital testing and so yesterday he explained that the number of tests that had taken place on Thursday 9th April, which was a week after he set the target amounted to 19,116 across the UK. So given that he had explained about some new testing centres, Hannah Al-Othman of Buzzfeedasked “Mr Hancock, how exactly are you going to get from 19,000 to 100,000 tests by the end of the month” she went on to ask about the mega labs which had been part of his presentation and so in response Matthew Hancock spent a few moments explaining about the mega labs and the people he had met and the way in which some of them are working, however such issues were not very clear and then at the end of his response he stated “So I have set that goal of 100,000, we are working 24/7 to hit it and everyone can see the daily trajectory which has almost doubled since I set it and we’ve clearly got a lot of work to do to get to our 100,000 but we are on track”
Clearly the challenge to go from 10,000 daily tests to 19,116 was significant but to go from there to 100,000 each day is a much more substantial change and what seems unclear is what are the details that will enable us to meet this target. It may well be that his target is on track as he stated, perhaps if he had explained what the target for another week would be, then it would have given people something to grasp. In the absence of this we can only hope that in due course we will hear how well things are shifting.