Matt Hancock has announced that the government has managed to meet its 100,000 coronavirus tests a day target. The Health Secretary confirmed at a Downing Street press conference that on 30 April, Public Health England carried out 122,347 tests – suggesting the government not only reached its target in time, but also over-delivered. But look at the small print and there were barely 73,191 people tested yesterday. There is another mysterious second category, now introduced, that takes the figure over 100,000.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) April 5, 2020
We’ll test 100,000 people a day by the end of this month.Here’s how ⬇️https://t.co/U5gd1mWwdO pic.twitter.com/DJzWDj0vv7
When challenged at the press conference, officials 'fessed up. 40,369 tests have been posted out – crucially these are counted when posted, not when the results come back. The HSJ suggest a third of these tests have been sent back so far. Which is certainly one way to interpret 100,000 tests being carried out. Or to put it another way: there’s lies, damned lies, and coronavirus testing targets.