Great Britain

Coronavirus tests: Boris Johnson issued dire warning UK mass testing could take 50 YEARS

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair warned combatting the deadly virus might entail testing people two or three times. His comments came after Cabinet minister Michael Gove confirmed this morning that the number of UK tests per day has reached 10,000. This would mean it could take more than 50 years to check the 67 million-strong population three times, according to Mail Online. 

Mr Blair told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: ”Your risk, obviously, is as you start to ease the lockdown, how do you then deal with any resurgence of the disease?

“This, of course, is what they're now dealing with in China and South Korea, and elsewhere”

"Unless you have that testing capability that you can apply at scale, and by the way when I say mass testing I mean I actually think you will need to get to the point where you've got the capability (...) of testing literally a very large proportion of the entire population.

"You may have to do those tests two or three different times because you need all the time to be able to track what's happening with the disease, to learn where, for example, there may be a surge or a hotspot of it, and take immediate action."

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TONY BLAIR has warned that the current rate of testing for coronavirus will take 50 years. (Image: Getty Images)


THE WARNING comes after Michael Gove announced testing had increased to 10'000 a day (Image: Getty Images)

The ex-PM was also asked about how many people in the country would have to take part in testing.

He replied: "I think you're talking about virtually everybody."

In the UK there are around 67 million people as of 2019.

Of that number, 19,522 are currently confirmed to have coronavirus.


BORIS JOHNSON has stated he wants testing to increase to 25'000 a day in PMQ's last week (Image: Getty Images)

Mr Gove also stressed on Ridge on Sunday that the numbers of tests are increasing everyday.

But he declined to confirm a timescale for when frontline NHS staff will get access to full checks.

He said: “We're going to move to get that up to 25,000 a day and we're doing all that we can to increase and to accelerate that, and I hope that we will be able to test as many frontline workers at the earliest possible stage,

“We've been working, as I say, with scientists, with the big players in providing medical supplies and drugs, like Boots, and others, in order to increase the number of tests that we have.”


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There is also still no clear idea when the UK will be able to conduct 25,000 tests a day, as was promised by Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister stated the ambitious aim for testing during PMQ’s on March 18.

“We are prioritising NHS staff for the obvious reason that we want them to be able to look after everybody else with confidence that they are not transmitting the disease.

 “This country is far ahead of many other comparable countries in testing large numbers of people.”


CURRENTLY the UK has 19,522 confirmed cases of coronavirus. (Image: Getty Images)

Home testing kits for Coronavirus have been in development and should be available soon.

Public Health England have said that Boots and Amazon will be stocking the kits.

The tests are conducted via a small prick on the finger, where it analyses the antibodies for signs of the virus.

They’re currently being tested in a laboratory for efficiency and accuracy.

Meanwhile, former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said countries including South Korea and Germany have seen success with their mass testing.

He wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: "Offices are open in Singapore.

"These countries learned the hard way how to deal with a pandemic after the deadly Sars virus. 

"They now show us how we can emerge from lockdown."

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