Government ‘working hard’ to reach 100,000-a-day testing target by end of day

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock leaves Downing Street. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock leaves Downing Street. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Downing Street has insisted the government is 'working hard' to hit its target of testing 100,000 for coronavirus by the end of the day.

Boris Johnson's spokesman said that as of April 28, testing capacity had been increased to 77,365 and told a Westminster briefing: 'The target is for 100,000 tests today and the health secretary and all of his team are working hard to hit it.'

He added: 'You can chart the progress that we've made towards hitting that target and that we are working hard today to ensure that people who need tests get them.'

The PM's spokesman said 42 drive-through test sites are now open and 17 mobile sites are operational.

The government had been criticised for resorting to using Tory Party mailing lists to encourage people to apply for tests.

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Earlier on Thursday, justice secretary Robert Buckland acknowledged the 100,000 target may not be met.

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Buckland said the government was 'well on its way' to hitting the number but the health secretary deserved praise 'even if the target isn't met today'.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, said: 'Even if it isn't met, we're well on our way to ramping this up and 100,000 is an important milestone, but frankly we need more.

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'Yes, 52,000 isn't 100,000, I know that... but we are straining every sinew to get there.

'If he (Matt Hancock) hadn't set a target he would have been criticised for being unambitious. I think now is the time in respect of this to be bold... being brave is something we should acknowledge even if the target isn't met today.'

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