In 11 days, promise of ‘very rapidly’ reaching 250,000 tests per day has vanished – to be replaced by a hope of reaching just 25,000 by end of April
Tonight’s government press conference on the latest developments in the fight against the coronavirus was an object example of Boris Johnson’s false promises – to put it kindly – and how those are simply discarded and replaced by something else without even an acknowledgement of the original position.
Just 11 days ago, on 19 March, Johnson promised the nation that a capacity of 250,000 tests a day was imminent – and he underlined how absolutely central that was to the UK’s hopes of victory over the coronavirus plague.
Yet in tonight’s daily press conference, a zero had magically and surreptitiously disappeared from that figure.
Not only that, but a capacity of even 25,000 was anything but imminent – instead, Director for Health Protection Yvonne Doyle said she thought it would be reached by ‘mid to late April’:
Worse, the government does not appear to have even hit the ten thousand figure yet. It claimed to have done so, but health experts then said it was more like 7,000 – a figure that agrees with a leaked NHS email on the UK’s current testing capacity.
In the meantime, in Johnson’s own words, the virus continues to spread under a ‘cloak of invisibility’ – and the UK is not even testing front-line NHS workers, who are still waiting for personal protective equipment that meets World Health Organisation standards (and which isn’t past its expiry date).
If six weeks to even hope to get from 5,000 to 25,000 tests a day is ‘rapidly coming down the track’, God help us all when the reality of the Tories’ ‘slow train’ speed of getting anything done turns out to be the truth yet again.
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