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Boris Johnson admits Britain DOESN’T have enough coronavirus tests to meet spiralling demand

BORIS Johnson has admitted today that Britain DOESN’T have enough coronavirus tests to meet the spiralling demand.

The PM is having a grilling from top politicians from across the spectrum this afternoon on his response to the pandemic.

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The Government will later today set out a list of who should get access to a test first – as hundreds of people queued up to try and get their hands on tests again today.

Ministers have blamed people who don’t need one trying to get their hands on a kit.

The PM was asked this afternoon if there were enough tests to meet the current demand in the UK, and he replied frankly: “The short answer is no, we don’t.

“We don’t have the testing capacity. We would like to test everyone who wants a test.”

But he again committed to the promise of reaching 500,000 by the end of October – around 200,000 more than the current capacity.

He said he “hopes” that will be enough to meet the demand.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “Everything is being done that we possibly can to increase testing capacity.

“Testing capacity just in the last two weeks has gone up 10 per cent.”

Earlier minister Robert Buckland said that teachers would likely be top of the list after NHS and social care staff.

The PM also said:

Most of the new cases have been among teenagers aged between 20 to 29 in the last week or so – but older people are getting infected too and it WOULD eventually lead to more deaths, Boris said.

He warned the nation: “The incidence amongst 18+ group is now 12 per 100k where only a few days ago it was about half that.

“It is growing, although the number of cases is obviously far smaller than it was in the spring.

“We must expect those infections proportionately to lead to mortality.”

As of 9am on Weds 3,991 new cases were reported yesterday – a sharp spike from last week.

It led to the PM bringing in the new ‘rule of six’ earlier this week, banning gatherings of large numbers to try and bring the rates down.

He admitted that the pregnancy-style test is not yet ready to roll out.

And he added: “I am going to be cautious and say that I can’t sit here today and say that we have such a ‘pregnancy-style test’… today.”

The PM promised the Government would show “creativity and flexibility” in providing support for the economy as the furlough scheme ends at the end of October.

The pandemic programme which paid 80 per cent of people’s wages up to £2,500 a month will wind up within weeks, despite cases rising and the prospect of more restrictions.

He said: “This government has done more than virtually any other government around the world to support people at risk of losing their jobs because of Covid.

“Going forward … we will continue to show great creativity and flexibility, which the Chancellor has shown, in trying to look after every sector of the economy.”

Businesses that are ordered to close in lockdown areas can at the moment claim up to £1,500 a month in grants for help – but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the furlough scheme.

Theatres and large-scale football games will only be able to return when the UK has access to rapid coronavirus tests which tell if someone has it in minutes, the PM said today.

The first pilots for live games are set to take place this weekend, but many theatres are still operating at just a fraction of the capacity.

A second national lockdown would be unaffordable for the country, he admitted too, saying the Government would do everything they could to stop it again.

Around 11 per cent of kids were absent from school this week – partly over coronavirus fears.

And earlier today The Sun revealed that 740 schools have been forced to send kids home over the coronavirus testing shambles

Furious headteachers warned youngsters are being plunged into a second “lockdown by default” because of the crisis.

Steve Chalke, head of the Oasis Academies Trust schools chain, said he has been told 740 schools in England have been shut or sent kids home because of suspected Covid outbreaks – around three per cent of the total.

In some schools this includes several year groups being banished from the classroom.

He said today: “These are kids who have a mountain to climb after the schools shutdown – they have lost confidence.

“And now, just days after schools reopened they are being sent home again for two weeks.

“The Prime Minister says we have a moral duty to get all kids back to school, but sending them back is not the same thing as staying in school.”

A staggering 74 per cent of parents who needed a Covid test for their kid in the past fortnight said they struggled to get one, a snap poll from Netmums found.

The PM stressed today schools should not be sending everyone for a test if they did not have symptoms.

Only kids who have been showing a fever, new cough, or loss of taste or smell should enquire about a test.

He said it was understandable that “many people are getting a test to get released and continue their life in a normal way” but it meant that not everyone could get them if they really needed one.

The PM told MPs it was “vital” that “those in contact with someone… should only self isolate on the basis of a positive test “

 

Boris said he “did not believe” the EU were negotiating in good faith during ongoing talks.

Brexit discussions have ground to a halt and descended into farce over the PM’s ongoing internal markets bill which ministers have admitted breaks internal law and will override parts of the Brexit withdrawal deal.

Both sides are still aiming to get a deal by the end of October – which will come into place at the end of the year, but No Deal is a growing risk as talks stall.

Boris added today: “It is always possible that I am mistaken and perhaps they will prove my suspicions wrong… but until such time I prefer to protect against the rupture of the UK.”

The PM was spotted giving Brexiteer Bill Cash a sarcastic eye-roll as he grilled him this afternoon.

 

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