The need for extra focus on COVID-19 testing by the Government


Yesterday during the No 10 Downing Street presentation on Coronaviris, the comments regarding the C-19 testing seemed very unclear to me. Matthew Hancock stated a couple of times during the session that the provision of tests for people from the social care sector had gone past 4,000 since then and he also explained that this came as a result of the new policy that he had introduced on 10th April to enable this to happen since then. He also made it clear that that the capacity to test people has continued to grow although he did not state what the capacity now is or indeed what the current number overall is. However on 10th April he had stated “Before updating you on our plan I want to share the latest data from the ongoing monitoring and testing programme. Yesterday I am glad to report that 19,116 tests were carried out across Great Britain.” He implied that this was the highest number of tests that had been carried out on a single day at that point and he has made it very clear that his target is 100,000 tests each day.

As he stated yesterday his view was that over the long Easter weekend, there may have been less requirement for testing and of course this is possible but the Government publishes data every day and although Hancock did not mention the numbers yesterday, the data provides the following information:

DateNumber of TestsPeople tested
11th April18,00012,776
12th April14,50610,745
13th April14,98211,879
14th April15,99411,170
Total 63,48246,570

No doubt the impact of the current arrangements will emerge as each day takes place, however as one of the questioners explained, there are 1.6m people in social care who may require tests and there has been a reference on recent communication that 0.55m people in NHS are also in this position although these are smaller numbers than the people who work more widely in both parts of this sector and these are 2m and 1.4m. Whilst some people have expressed that the need for tests is a diversion of the much more challenging impact of how to prevent people from catching C-19, it does make sense to some of us that we need to have a clear way of measuring the impact of the illness, both within the NHS and Care sector but also amongst the people in the wider parts of the community as spending 14 days in a home just because of mild conditions seems a rather frustrating result. In any case, if 10% of the people being tested each day since the 10th April are currently from the Care Sector, this suggests that since 9th April, the number of NHS people being tested has dropped by around half and there is a real question regarding why this has happened, particularly as the 14th April was a normal working day.

Perhaps we can ask the Government to begin to display the numbers of available tests?

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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1 Response to The need for extra focus on COVID-19 testing by the Government

  1. Rob Furber says:

    Ian;
    As you have seen I follow this quite closely. They don’t write it down, but if you listen closely to Matt Hancock you can elucidate the current capacity for tests – he betrays it in his talks. On Thursday Morning he had me chocking in the queue to Shop for the shut ins when he stated in an interview that some 2,200+ tests went unused he day before because no-one came forward!

    That would give some 21,400 as a capacity at Thursday. (still NOWHERE NEAR is goal of 25,000 test by mid April which everyone is holding him to, but frankly; I never heard him commit to.

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