July 06, 2020
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Government Stops Publishing Daily Number Of People Tested For Coronavirus
Downing Street has said the government will no longer publish daily figures on the number of people tested for coronavirus.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said only the total number of tests processed will be published on a daily basis.
This is because only people who are receiving a test for the first time are counted towards the statistic, meaning many hospital and care home staff who are being tested on a regular basis will not be counted.
The prime minister’s spokesperson denied that the government was not publishing the figure because it was embarrassed at how few people were being tested.
He said: “That’s not the case, and I think the fact that we are very regularly testing hospital and care home staff is an important thing to be doing.”
It comes after questions about why the number of people tested each day was often lower than the total number of tests done or posted out each day.
Explaining the decision, the spokesperson said: “DHSC (the department for health and social care) will no longer publish the number of people tested daily anymore and will instead publish the number of daily tests processed.
“This is because the daily people tested statistic only counts new people being tested.
“For example, someone who is tested in February and then tested again this month would only be counted once.
“Considering hospital and care home staff are now being tested on a regular basis we don’t think this statistic would be an accurate reflection of the  amount of daily testing that is taking place.
“Test and trace statistics published weekly do still include the number of people who have been tested.”
He added: “There are now significant numbers of people who are going to be tested for a second or third or fourth time because of hospital and care home staff being tested on a regular basis.”The latest testing figures show that 164,849 tests were provided on July 5.
Of these 40,466 were by NHS, Public Health England and devolved administration labs, 109,998 were tests by commercial partners, and there were 10,282 antibody tests, 4,103 surveillance testing
Of the commercial tests, 57,434 were sent by post.
Total testing capacity currently stands at 294,258.
The move comes after the prime minister was last week accused of “moving the goalposts” on his target to get most Covid-19 tests returned within 24 hours as latest figures showed he was well short of the goal.
Statistics showed that just 21% of tests were completed within the timeframe in “satellite” test centres used mainly by care workers, 60% in mobile test centres and 71% in regional test centres.
Just over 90% of NHS labs return results within 24 hours as of June 30. The current average Covid-19 testing turnaround time in the NHS pathology laboratories is 14 hours.
Johnson promised “to get all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.Anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus can get a free test to check if they have the virus. Related... Pret A Manger Set To Shut 30 Shops 'And Cut 1,000 Jobs' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Scientists Plan To Urge WHO To Take Airborne Spread Of Coronavirus More Seriously Keir Starmer To Take Unconscious Bias Training And Says Everyone Should Do So
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