Boris Johnson on 'great form' after coronavirus recovery, says Matt Hancock
24 April 2020, 08:45 | Updated: 24 April 2020, 10:07
Boris Johnson is on “great form and raring to go” after recovering from coronavirus, Matt Hancock has told LBC's Nick Ferrari.
The Prime Minister was reported to be returning to work as early as Monday, but the Health Secretary said: “that’s a decision for him and his doctors.”
Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital on April 5, ten days after confirming he had tested positive for coronavirus, but was moved to intensive care two days later.
Since his release on April 13, the PM has been recuperating at his country residence Chequers, but he is now “back to his normal ebullient self.”
Mr Hancock told LBC: “That’s a decision for him and his doctors but he’s much, much better.
“I was talking to him yesterday evening, he’s on great form, he’s raring to go, but of course he’s got to talk to his doctors to make the final decision.
“Even as his Health Secretary that isn’t a discussion I’ll get involved in.
“I would say he’s back to his normal, ebullient self.”
The LBC breakfast presenter also tackled the Health Secretary on Covid-19 testing after he set a target of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April.
Just 23,560 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 9am on 23 April – under a quarter of that.
But Mr Hancock insisted that the target would be reached on April 30 – just six days away – despite refusing to give any “interim targets” for the number of tests carried out each day.
On capacity, he said: “We got to 51,000 the day before yesterday as I announced yesterday, that was 10,000 higher than the day before. It’s going up by about 10,000 a day.
“We always planned it to go up more sharply at the end of the month because at the beginning of the month we were building the systems.
“We’ve been automating the process and now we’re on the ramp-up.
“As you say, we’ve had excess capacity, we’ve wanted more people to come forward, and now with this super simple booking system, I hope more people can come forward and use the capacity that’s available.
“There’s a lot done and there’s a lot more to do.”
On the number of testing sites seen empty, Mr Hancock said: “It’s because we’ve been building the capacity and building this IT system which we’ve launched this morning so that people can get the easy access and now we’re able to open it up.
“I very much hope that we’ll get the demand to use the capacity we’ve built as we ramp up to 100,000 tests a day by the end of next week.”
The Secretary of State said it is “too early” to safely lift the lockdown measures and that we need to get the number of new cases “much, much lower” before they can be eased.
He said: "The truth is that it is too early, safely, to lift the lockdown measures.
“The number of deaths is lower, it was lower yesterday than the day before and that’s good, but is still too high.
“It comes back to the testing as well – to be able to hold down this virus using testing and contact tracing, we need to get the number of new cases much, much lower and then we can hold it down whilst releasing more of the social distancing measures.”
Mr Hancock also detailed how key workers can book a test if they or a member of their household is symptomatic using a new IT system launched today.
The Health Secretary said: “The process is simple – if you are an essential worker then you can go onto the gov.uk website if you’re symptomatic and you need a test, or if somebody in your household has coronavirus symptoms, which means that you’re having to isolate, you log on, give some of your details, they text you an appointment time and you can go and get the test.
“We’re also introducing a home testing service so we can post the test to you at home, you can administer it yourself, do the swabbing, and give it to a courier who will take it to our labs to get you your result.
“It’s just all about making it as easy as possible for people to get tests.”
He said it is “a relatively quick turnaround,” with most results coming through in a day and the large majority in 48 hours but “clearly that’s critical.”