Boris Johnson, who remains in self-isolation after his COVID-19 diagnosis last week, posted a new video message on social media as a health update and also to stress that he was determined to massively ramp up the government’s testing for coronavirus.
In his message posted on Twitter in the wake of the UK logging a 563 day-on-day leap in death toll to hit 2,352 on Wednesday, the British Prime Minister described it as a sad, sad day with a record number of deaths in a single day. I want to say a special word about testing because this is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle, said Johnson, seen dressed slightly less formally without a tie and looking visibly unwell.
This is how we will defeat it in the end. What we need to do is massively ramp up not just tests so that you can know whether you have had the disease in the past, the so-called antibody test [also] to know whether they haven’t got it, rather than isolating themselves at home for no reason, and that’s very, very important above all for our NHS staff, he said.
The focus on testing came as the government has come under increasing pressure over the low levels of tests being conducted, especially to National Health Service (NHS) workers required on the frontline of the pandemic in hospitals and clinics.
According to official figures, only around 13,000 tests are available each day against a target of 25,000. The prime minister admitted that more tests would enable people to go to work in confidence that they can’t be infected, or be infectious.
And of course it’s crucial that people who do have the disease are able to be tested positive, and take the necessary steps and isolate themselves at home in the way that I am doing and many, many others are doing as well, he said.
In reference to his own illness, Johnson sought to reassure the British public that he remains completely in charge while he recovers from his mild symptoms of COVID-19. He said: I want to reassure you on that last point that although I am sequestered here in Number 10 Downing Street, I am, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, able to be in constant touch with my officials, with everybody in the various departments across the whole of Whitehall who is coordinating the response to coronavirus.
And I am absolutely confident that we will beat it, and we will beat it together, and we will do it by staying at home protecting our NHS and saving lives.
Amid the ongoing criticism of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff dealing with infected patients on a daily basis, he stressed that just in the last couple of weeks the government had shipped 397 million separate pieces of PPE to look after “amazing” NHS staff.
The Army reservists and others are doing quite an amazing job of shipping that stuff around the country, he said.
Johnson’s central message was to reiterate that the UK government’s plan was working, as he exhorted the public to continue to follow the “programme” and comply with the stay-at-home measures. Then, I have absolutely no doubt that we will begin to start to push those numbers down, and we will turn the tide of the coronavirus as I say in the course of the next few weeks and months, he said.
The UK remains under near-lockdown with strict social distancing restrictions in place. The police have been handed additional powers to impose the rules aimed at controlling the spread of the pandemic, as the death toll continues to mount and the latest figures indicate that 29,474 people have tested positive for the deadly virus in the country.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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