Cabinet minister admits it’s ‘dreadful’ more care workers are not being tested for coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 11:16 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 23 April 2020
A cabinet minister has admitted it is “dreadful” that care workers who fear they have the coronavirus are not being tested.
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Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) to answer questions on why a majority of care home staff workers who were not being swabbed for Covid-19, despite an increase in the government’s capacity to carry out testing, something he admitted was “dreadful”,
Three out of four carers who fear they have the virus are struggling to access the test.
The former deputy Brexit minister agreed the problem was a “disgrace”. He told GMB presenter Piers Morgan: “I’m agreeing with you, Piers, I think it’s dreadful that we can’t get more people tested.
“That’s why it’s important we do upscale the ability for people to access these tests both with more test centres, the ability to have the tests at home and the ability to apply for them directly rather than having to apply through their employer, which has been slowing things down.”
The government has increased the amount of people it can examine for the virus to 40,000 per day but has since struggled to reach half that number. The minister conceded on air that the government target is 100,000 tests per day by the end of April while shying away from confirming the latest figures.
Some 18,206 tests were carried out in the 24 hours up to 9am on Tuesday in England, Wales and Scotland,
With the number of deaths in care homes expected to be well over the government’s tally of 1,000, staff who have been showing Covid-19 symptoms have been raising concerns that they cannot access testing.
More than 111 frontline healthcare workers have died from Covid-19 and around 40,000 are thought to have succumbed to the disease nationally.
Downing Street has insisted it is expanding testing for key workers to close the gap in capacity. It is also confident it will hit its 100,000-a-day target in just under a week.
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