Britain has actually been covertly flying tens of thousands of coronavirus tests to America as it has a hard time to lift the day-to-day testing rate over 100,000 a day in the UK, The Sunday Telegraph can divulge.
The Department of Health admitted last night that 50,000 test samples were sent out to the United States last week as issues were reported in laboratories in the UK. The samples were airlifted across the Atlantic in chartered flights from Stansted airport.
The Federal government firmly insisted that “all results will be returned to patients as quickly as possible”.
The UK has actually stopped working to strike the hundred thousand a day target for screening for each of the previous 7 days, and just hit the 100,000 a day target by the end of last month by mailing 40,000 screening packages to people at home.
The Government admitted on Thursday that there had actually been a problem in a laboratory in Northern Ireland, but made no recommendation to shipping tens of thousands of tests to America.
Many individuals are still waiting on their outcomes, throwing their lives into turmoil. Questions will be inquired about why the Federal government has not disclosed the samples airlift to the US prior to.
A Department of Health source said: “We were able to send approximately 50,000 test samples to an US laboratory earlier this week.
” Validation of the results will be completed in the UK, and all results will be returned to clients as quickly as possible.”
The Sunday Telegraph understands that the samples are being processed at a university lab in the southern United States.
There have been reports of long delays in getting outcomes back to people who have actually been evaluated however it is not understood if this is due to the fact that tests are being sent to the US.
The department source added: “Hold-ups in the system this week developed as a result of operational issues in our lab network.
” We have actually worked to resolve these issues and capability is rapidly being restored.
” It is not surprising when a system is brand new that there will be some teething issues in the very first weeks of operation.
” It is essential not to draw too many conclusions from a few days’ worth of data.
” Over one million individuals have actually now been checked in the UK and the vast majority report no issues with the procedure.”
Officials were forced onto the backfoot when day-to-day screening figures slumped to fewer than 70,000 in the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday, well listed below the 100,000 everyday target set by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Tests have just cleared the 100,000 day-to-day target on two celebrations because the start of the crisis.
Speaking at the daily rundown on Saturday Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England stated that he anticipated there to be changes in the number of day-to-day coronavirus tests being performed.
He said: “We are now actually at a high plateau, in the region of 100,000 tests each day.
” There is some variation, and quite frankly I anticipate there to be some change on a day-to-day basis.
” I don’t believe we can read too much into everyday variations, but the macro-picture is this is now at a much, much higher level than it ever was at the start of this crisis.”
Government sources said there had actually been an issue with a maker at a commercial lab run by private company Randox in Northern Ireland, which had now been rectified. Randox said its staff were “working vigilantly to process all tests in a timely way”.
Last week Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, set an enthusiastic new 200,000 daily coronavirus testing target and pledged to “go even greater” to consist of the disease.
One screening source stated that the US university was being utilized to manage “surge capability” in the UK as testing is ramped up.
One said: “They have sent far fewer than they thought they would since their capacity is doing really well. They will get to 200,000 a day – they will refrain from doing it in four weeks but they will arrive.”
A Department of Health spokesman stated: “The expansion of the UK’s coronavirus screening network has actually involved setting up an entirely brand-new ‘Lighthouse’ lab network to process test swabs.
” When issues arise, we have contingencies in location that include developing extra short-term capability for our laboratories or sending out swabs abroad to partner laboratories for completion. Of course, our partner laboratories need to match our high standards.”