Downing Street has insisted it remains on target to ensure 100,000 tests a day for coronavirus by the end of the month – despite the latest figures showing only a fifth of this number are being carried out.
At the daily briefing for lobby journalists, the prime minister’s spokesman disclosed the statistics while defending the decision to allow Michael Gove’s daughter to be tested for the illness – at a time when some NHS and care home staff are still waiting to be tested themselves.
The test came back negative, meaning that Gove was no longer obliged to self-isolate at home with the rest of his family. The fact that Gove was no longer self-isolating emerged when he was seen jogging in a park near his London home.
On 25 March, at the last prime minister’s questions before the Easter recess , Boris Johnson told MPs that the government was “massively increasing” testing up to 25,000 per day. Later that day he told a press conference that “hopefully very soon” he wanted to reach a target of 250,000 tests a day, although when Matt Hancock, the health secretary, set a formal target to be achieved by the end of April, he settled on 100,000 tests a day.