How hitting 100,000 tests will ‘help us unlock the lockdown’

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The government has hit its target of carrying out 100,000 tests by the end of April.

In today's daily briefing at Downing Street, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the government reached 122,347 tests on April 30.

Mr Hancock said reaching this target was an "incredible achievement" which will "help us to unlock the lockdown."

The government had been averaging around 20,000 tests a day but this increased significantly over the last week, with the Department of Health also counting home testing kits as part of its daily test figures.

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Speaking at the daily briefing today, Matt Hancock said: "Testing is crucial to suppress the virus.

"It helps remove the worry, it helps to keep people safe and it will help us to unlock the lockdown.

"So many people have tragically died and the challenge that we still face is vast but we're making real progress."

Professor John Newton, coordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme, said meeting the government's testing target gives the UK "the flexibility we need."

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Professor Newton said reaching the testing target will not mean social distancing measures can be relaxed, that will happen when the government's five tests are met.

The 100,000 testing target was set out for by the government for two purposes.

He said: "It was intended to motivate the programme and set the scale of our ambitions and it has certainly done that

"We knew from our calculations that we would need something like this level of testing to be ready for the next phase of the response of the pandemic.

"Looking to the future we now have a very substantial and flexible testing capability in the UK."

He added: "It will be used to drive extensive contact tracing to control any new infections.

"To help us keep patients and staff safe in hosptials and care services

He says it will also "tell us with some precision how the virus has spread across the country and is spreading in the future."