UK coronavirus: tests prioritised for NHS workers, 'not available on the internet next week' – as it happened

Rolling updates on all the UK developments, as they happened. This blog is now closed, please follow the global coronavirus liveblog

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Here are the main points from Boris Johnson’s press conference. His headline announcement related to the NHS “volunteer army”, but what was equally interesting was the defensiveness that seems to be creeping in to his public statements about coronavirus. He did not have a proper answer at all to Gary Gibbon’s questions about why coronavirus testing in the UK was not as thorough as in some other countries, and he opened his statement with the words “from the very beginning of this crisis I have followed the advice of our world-leading scientists” - which did sound a little like someone starting to make excuses.

Here are the main points.

When we launched the appeal last night we hoped to get 250,000 over a few days.

But I can tell you that in just 24 hours 405,000 people have responded to the call.

We are going up from 5,000 to 10,000 tests per day, to 25,000, hopefully very soon up to 250,000 per day.

This is a global problem. Basically, every country is wanting this new test for a disease that wasn’t actually being tested for anywhere three months ago. So everybody wants, so there is a global shortage, and that’s a bottleneck for us ...

There are multiple components in these tests, including the chemicals that make them up, the swabs that you use, and there are shortages along many of these supply chains, essentially because every county in the world is simultaneously wanting this new thing. Some components of this are old, but the scale of this is something which has obviously occurred at an extraordinary speed. And that’s just a practical reality. Anyone who understands how supply chains work, and the huge demand for this globally, would understand that.

I dislike it very much and I do not want to see people profiteering, exploiting people’s need at a critical time, in a national emergency.

We are indeed looking very carefully at what is going on.

I do not think, and I want to be clear, that this is something that we’ll suddenly be ordering on the internet next week. We need to go through the evaluation, then the first critical uses, then spread it out from that point of view. We need to do that in a systematic way.

We have to remember that many of the things we have to do are going to have to be sustained for a reasonably long period of time.

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