Senior Labour MP urges the government to ramp up coronavirus testing

PUBLISHED: 11:33 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:47 26 April 2020

Rachel Reeves, Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet minister. Photo: BBC One.

Rachel Reeves, Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet minister. Photo: BBC One.

BBC One

A senior shadow cabinet minister has urged the government to ramp up testing ahead of lifting lockdown restrictions.

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Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has called for mass testing for coronavirus to be made “widely available” to meet the “huge demand” noticed across the country.

Speaking during The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, she said: “The government have committed to 100,000 a day by Thursday this week. If we are to come out of the lockdown in the weeks and the months ahead, that level of testing needs to be ramped up further.”

Reeves said the prime minister previously spoke about 250,000 daily tests and that the UK had contact tracing and testing as a strategy, which was dropped with the increase in cases.

“If we are to come out of the lockdown, that sort of strategy needs to be reintroduced because it is essential to know who has the virus.”

She praised the World Health Organisation’s strategy to “test, test, test” as, by knowing who has the virus, those people can isolate with their families.

Reeves also thinks an increase in testing will allow health and social care workers to go back into the workplace and look after the sick and vulnerable.

According to her, the testing strategy should be focused on the local level: “If we are to come out of the lockdown, we know that we are going to need mass testing at a community level, that people can access those tests locally, rather than have to travel for miles.

“Keir Starmer has urged the government to work with local authorities to open up town halls and libraries to have testing in the communities, because there are many examples of people having to travel many, many miles to be able to access the testing. If you don’t have a car and you have symptoms of coronavirus, it’s impossible to get those tests.”

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