Europe

Hunt demands ‘massive increase’ in coronavirus testing – ‘South Korea does 10 times more!’

A frustrated Jeremy Hunt told BBC the UK Government had taken steps in the right direction by adjusting their coronavirus strategy but argued many more tests needed to be recorded. Mr Hunt argued the country could avoid an Italy-style lockdown if the UK Government get a firm grasp on the crisis and limit the diseases spread. He said: “The Government is really starting to follow the successful model followed by countries like South Korea, Taiwan and some provinces in China.

“That is a model where you need to do massively more testing.

“We do test a fair amount in the UK, more than France or Germany but in South Korea, they test 10 times more people per head of the population.

“Basically what you are doing is making sure everyone who is possibly at risk of getting the virus is tracked down tested and you find out very quickly so you can take them out of circulation and stop them from passing it on to anyone else.

“That is a different model and if the UK Government is going to do that we need to see a big increase in testing.”

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Mr Hunt also praised the Government for adjusting their strategy for dealing with coronavirus in the UK.

He said: “If the modelling the Government is following from Imperial College is correct, then in two to three weeks we should start seeing the number of new cases tailing off.

“That depends on the extent to which the public cooperate.

“But I am personally quite optimistic and I think the public will cooperate with the Government.

“If the tail off does happen the risk of an Italian-health service meltdown starts to recede.”

Boris Johnson has been criticised by the public and workers of the NHS for not drastically increasing the amount of testing in the UK for coronavirus.

NHS workers have insisted the health service would be better able to deal with the pandemic if those working could be tested quickly and return to work rather than self-isolating for 14 days.

Over the weekend NHS doctor Sonia Adesara told Sky News the Government needed to “get a grip” on coronavirus and increase their testing measures.

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Dr Adesara said: “It is utter madness that we do not have priority testing for NHS workers to get them back in the workplace.

“We are already short of staff and if we are losing more staff because we don’t have priority testing it just seems like madness.

“There needs to be priority testing for NHS workers so if they do get symptoms of a cold or the flu they can then be tested quickly and get back into the workplace if they test negative.”

In a briefing on Tuesday evening, Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak explained the many ways the Government would prepare small and large businesses for the economic impact of coronavirus.

When questioned on the critical issues of priority testing and school and university closures, however, the Prime Minister said the Government would continue to monitor the situation and make decisions accordingly.

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