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Government again fails to hit 100k Covid-19 tests per day target

THE government has failed again to hit its target of 100,000 coronavirus test per day.

At the daily Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that just over 85,000 tests for Covid-19 took place on Sunday.

He announced that the total number of positive Covid-19 tests had risen by 3,985 to 190,584 and the number of deaths was up by 288 to 28,734.

On Sunday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove announced that there had been 76,496 tests in the previous 24 hours. He blamed the weekend for the below-target number.

Ministers had insisted that the government pledge to carry out 100,000 tests per day would be met by the end of April.

Last week, Mr Hancock announced that 122,347 tests were carried out on the last day of April, but it was later revealed that the figure on the government’s website had been changed in the days before the deadline to include tests sent to people’s homes and those carried out at drive-through centres. Labour accused ministers of “moving the goalposts.”

A new test, track and trace programme has begun a trial in the Isle of Wight, Mr Hancock announced. He claimed it would “hunt down and isolate the virus so it is unable to reproduce,” allowing the government to take a “more targeted approach to lockdown while still safely containing the disease.”

Setting out details of the Isle of Wight trial, Mr Hancock said: “Last week we put in place the testing capability on the island. From tonight, the contact tracing capability will go live, and from tomorrow, NHS staff on the island will be able to download the app.

“From Thursday, each one of the 80,000 households on the island will get a letter from the chief nurse with comprehensive information about the trial. Islanders will then be able to install the app.”

When asked why the government had chose the Isle of Wight, which has an elderly population, Mr Hancock accepted that not everyone there has a smartphone but claimed that piloting the scheme where everyone had one would have been too easy.

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