Matt Hancock: All NHS staff can now be tested for coronavirus

10 April 2020, 18:16 | Updated: 10 April 2020, 18:41

Matt Hancock was speaking at the government's daily coronavirus briefing
Matt Hancock was speaking at the government's daily coronavirus briefing. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Health Secretary has confirmed that the UK now has capacity to test all key NHS staff and social care staff who need to be tested for Covid-19.

The Health Secretary also said that 15 testing drive-through centres had been opened across the UK to enable more testing for frontline staff.

"I can announce today that we have capacity for all key social care staff and NHS staff who need to be tested to get those tests," he told the briefing.

Mr Hancock said that two more "Lighthouse mega-labs" were on track in Cheshire and Glasgow, after he opened the first one in Milton Keynes on Thursday.

He added that AstraZeneca and GSK were also opening another testing facility in Cambridge.

The number of people in hospital who have tested positive for the disease stands at 19,304, of which 8,958 had died - an increase of 980 on the day before.

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Mr Hancock also said the UK was creating a domestic PPE manufacturing industry, as it has done already with ventilators.

He said: "Many businesses have generously come forward to turn over production lines as part of this national effort.

"In particular, I want to thank Burberry with their offers of gowns, Rolls Royce and McLaren who are creating visors.

"We are talking to many others and we want more to step up to the plate.

"So if you have production facilities and you can meet our published technical specifications, we want to hear from you, so we can make this kit here in Britain."

Mr Hancock said his goal is that "everyone" working in a critical role must get the personal protective equipment (PPE) that they need.

He said there is a "huge international demand" for PPE and a "global squeeze" on supply.

He said the Government is publishing a PPE plan which has three strands.

"There's enough PPE to go around, but only if it's used in line with our guidance. We need everyone to treat PPE like the precious resource that it is.

"That means only using it when there's a clinical need, and not using more than is needed," he said.

Mr Hancock said the second strand of the PPE plan is about distribution, saying: "This is a Herculean logistical effort. We've brought together the NHS, private industry and the army, in fact, the armed forces, to create a giant PPE distribution network on an unprecedented scale," he said.

Mr Hancock said the third strand of the PPE plan is about the future supply.

"We're using up PPE on an unprecedented scale, so we're constantly buying more from abroad, and now making it at home," he said.

Mr Hancock said: "I want to thank Burberry with their offers of gowns, Rolls-Royce and McLaren who are creating visors, Ineos and Diageo who are producing hand sanitiser.

"We're talking to many others, and we want more to step up to the plate.

"So if you've got production facilities, and you can meet our published technical specifications, we want to hear from you.

"So that we can make this kit here in Britain that'll keep people safe."

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