Published:  05:23 AM, 18 October 2020

'Up to one million Brits could be tested before Christmas'

'Up to one million Brits could be tested before Christmas'

Britain could be carrying out a million coronavirus tests per day by Christmas with results in just 15 minutes, a scientist working on the testing scheme has said.

The source, who was not named, revealed the government is buying new machines capable of processing 150,000 tests per day with the aim of trebling the current capacity of 300,000. Separately, trials of pregnancy-style tests which could provide results in just 15 minutes will begin in northern hotspots from next week.

'It's going pretty well,' the scientist told The Times. 'They have really scaled up their capabilities. By Christmas we'll be at a million a day, I think.  'That seems perfectly possible.' Johnson told a No 10 press conference on Friday that the new tests were 'faster, simpler and cheaper' and that work was being done to ensure they could be manufactured and distributed in the UK. 

The Government has already set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October and ministers spent more than £500 million in the last two weeks on laboratory-based machines that could more than triple the Government's capacity of 300,000 tests a day. 'We are now testing more people than any other country in Europe but we always want to go further,' Johnson said on Friday.

'Scientists and companies in Britain and around the world have been developing new tests which are faster, simpler and cheaper.'We've already bought millions of these tests, some of which are very simple, meaning you simply need to wipe the swab inside your mouth and can give a result as quickly as in 15 minutes.'

'We've started building the infrastructure for domestic manufacture of these tests, ensuring that Britain has the ability to produce millions of fast tests here.'Over the next few weeks we will start distributing and trialling these tests across the country.'The Government said that hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Basingstoke and Southampton will test asymptomatic NHS staff, and use the data to assist with Track and Trace.

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