UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted that his goal of 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day by the end of April may be in jeopardy, after conceding that “nothing is guaranteed in life,” as pressure on the government ramps up.
During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program, Hancock was asked whether he thought he would hit his ambitious target – after just 23,000 were carried out on Wednesday – with only a week left until the end of the month.
In what may be viewed as an attempt to deflect pressure from his self-imposed target, Hancock boasted that the UK was “ahead” of “where we expected capacity,” in terms of coronavirus testing. The interviewer then pushed the health minister again on whether he was confident the 100,000 “actual” tests goal could be achieved.
I do, yes, but nothing is guaranteed in life.
Hancock also claimed it was “too soon” to end lockdown and relax social distancing measures, insisting this could be done only when the number of new Covid-19 infections declined significantly.
It comes as the UK government launched a new website allowing “essential workers” and household members experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 to apply for a test. The site was temporarily closed until Saturday, after experiencing a huge surge in applications on Friday morning.
Around 5,000 home testing kits were available to order on Friday, with this number being ramped up to 18,000 per day by the end of next week.