In a video message from his quarantine in Downing Street, the Prime Minister insisted he had “absolutely no doubt” the health crisis could be conquered over the coming months. He also revealed that 397million items of personal protective equipment including masks and aprons for NHS staff had been shipped over the last fortnight. Mr Johnson, who has been in isolation since going down with mild coronavirus symptoms last Friday, said: “I want to say a special word about testing because it is so important.
“As I have said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through, this is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle, 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, because that will enable you to go to work in the confidence that you can’t be infected or infectious.
“People need to know whether they haven’t got it, rather than isolating themselves at home for no reason, that’s very important for our NH staff.
“It’s crucial that people who do have the disease are able to be tested positive and to take the necessary steps to isolate at home in the way that I am doing and many others are doing as well.”
His remarks follow criticism of the rate of testing, with currently just over 10,000 tests being carried out a day.
He added: “We’ve shipped just in the last couple of weeks 397 million separate pieces of personal protective equipment to look after our amazing NHS staff.
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“The Army reservists and others are doing a quite amazing job of shipping that stuff around the country.”
Mr Johnson insisted he was still leading the Government effort to tackle the crisis despite his illness.
“I just want to reassure you that although I am sequestered here in Number 10 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 co-ordinating the response to coronavirus.
“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,” he said.
He added: “Let’s be in no doubt this has been a sad, sad day – 563 more cases, a record in a single day.
“Our thoughts go out to the families of the victims, all their friends.
“But let’s be in no doubt that if we can follow that we’re currently set upon, if we can comply with the measures that we’ve embarked on together 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 in the course of the next few weeks and months.”
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