BORIS Johnson wants Brits to take a rapid-result coronavirus every day in the future to see if it is safe to go out.
The PM said today Health Secretary Matt Hancock was working up plans to get enough 20-minute result tests for everyone to use.
The PM has pledged to ensure the UK has 500,000 tests available to be used by the end of October and roll out mass testing throughout the nation as quickly as possible to help get people back to their normal lives.
He dubbed this the Government’s “moonshot” program.
Speaking this evening, he said: “Up to now, we have used testing primarily to identify people who are positive – so we can isolate them from the community and protect high risk groups.
Mr Johnson said this evening: “We think, we hope, we believe that new types of test which are simple, quick and scalable will become available.
“They use swabs or saliva and can turn round results in 90 or even 20 minutes.”
“Crucially, it should be possible to deploy these tests on a far bigger scale than any country has yet achieved – literally millions of tests processed every single day.”
He said he hoped these tests would allow people to be tested daily and then behave “as in the old world” with the knowledge that they tested negative, or isolate if they test positive.
The new tests could use saliva rather than the uncomfortable swab which has to go up the nose and to the back of the throat.
It comes after fierce criticism of the Government’s current testing regime which left people across the country either unable to get a hold of a test, or told to drive as far as 300 miles to get one.
The director of testing for the Government Sarah-Jane Marsh was forced to apologise for the failures yesterday.
He added today: “I of course sympathise with all of those who are facing difficulties getting a test as fast as they want but demand is at an unprecedented high, particularly because of demand for asymptomatic patients.”
It comes as:
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blasted the PM for the failures in the testing system, saying it was “frankly ridiculous” people were not able to get a test.
Sir Keir said: “We all want test, trace and isolate to succeed. But the Prime Minister is ignoring the problem.
“If people are being told to go hundreds of miles to get a test, something is wrong.
“If people are being told they cannot get a test, something his wrong.”
When pressed on the issue by Sir Keir, the PM demanded the Labour leader give the people working for NHS Test & Trace “some praise and encouragement”.
He said: “It is obviously a function of the growing demand and the growing public confidence in NHS Test and Trace that we have to supply more and more tests and that is what we’ve been doing.”
Mr Hancock said this morning the lack of available tests was partially because people who did not have coronavirus symptoms were using up the spare capacity.
He said this morning: “We have seen an increase in demand including from people who are not eligible for tests, people who don’t have symptoms.
“You are eligible for a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus or if you have a very specific reason otherwise.
“We have seen an increase, and about 25 per cent of people who are coming forward don’t have symptoms and aren’t eligible.”