Boris Johnson pledges 200,000 tests a day by end of May despite falling behind previous target

PUBLISHED: 12:59 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 06 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson has pledged to reach 200,000 tests a day for coronavirus by the end of May despite falling behind the previous target.

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The government had announced it had hit 100,000 tests on Friday on the last day of April, but has fallen behind that target ever since.

A total of 85,186 tests were carried out on Sunday while 76,496 were done on Saturday.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, responding to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Johnson said “capacity currently exceeds demand” but planned to address that.

He then said that his “ambition” was 200,000 tests a day “by the end of the month” before adding he hopes to go “even higher”.


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He said: “Capacity current exceeds demand.

“We’re working on that, we’re running at about 100,000 a day.

“But the ambition clearly is to get up to 200,000 a day by the end of this month and then to go even higher.”

Starmer welcomed the new target, telling his Conservative counterpart, but he warned a target is not enough.

He said: “I’m glad the prime minister has now said that the target now is 200,000 tests a day by the end of this month.

“But of course just having a target isn’t a strategy.”

In the middle of March the prime minister previously pledged 250,000 tests a day as an overall goal, after it was revealed Germany was conducting 500,000 a week, before the UK appeared to abandon a testing and contact tracing strategy as the virus started to quickly spread.

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