The UK will "massively ramp up" its screening of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised on Wednesday.
"This is the way through. This is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle (...) and defeat it," Johnson said in a video posted to Twitter.
Here's an update to bring you up to speed on some of the things that we are doing to protect our NHS.We will beat coronavirus together by staying at home, protecting our NHS and saving lives. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/FOYfvzlQPC — Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 1, 2020
The British authorities were initially reserving tests for critical cases but now plan to increase the number of tests conducted from 8,000 daily to 15,000 in the coming days.
Johnson has been facing lots of criticism. On Thursday, British tabloid The Mirror referred to a "disaster" and the Telegraph voiced concern about "unanswered questions", while The Daily Mail found it "shocking" that only 2,000 employees of the NHS, the public health service, had been tested.
Johnson is nevertheless optimistic that "we will turn the tide of the coronavirus (...) in the course of the next few weeks and months." He stressed the importance of tests "so you can know whether you've had the disease in the past, the so-called antibody test, because that will enable you to go to work in the confidence that you can't be infected or infectious," adding that it's also important to know if people don't have the disease so people are not "isolating themselves at home for no reason."
"I just want to reassure you (...) that although I am sequestered here in Number 10 Downing Street, I am (...) able to be in constant touch with my officials," Johnson said.
His video statement came at the end of what "has been a sad, sad day," as he said, with 563 deaths counted in one day, a record for the UK since the start of the crisis. Nevertheless, "we will beat [the virus], and we will beat it together," Johnson concluded.
The Brussels Times