Some 5,000 home kits were available to order and ran out in just two minutes, a Downing Street spokesman said. A further 15,000 tests were expected to take place at drive through centres yesterday. But ministers insisted it was a sign of success and said capacity would continue to increase. Meanwhile, Britain’s death toll rose by 768 to 19,506, including 84 extra deaths in Wales due to a health board reporting figures late.
At the daily Downing Street briefing, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps dismissed suggestions that the website had crashed.
He said: “It was simply that the slots for today were taken up.”
He also said people should be “sensible” and recognise the enormous challenge of building a testing system from scratch.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the Government hoped to increase the capacity for home testing to 18,000 a day by the end of next week.
But he admitted there were no checks in place to ensure those ordering kits were key workers.
He said: “As with many other aspects of the coronavirus response, we would expect the public to respond in good faith.”
Demand for testing soared after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that all key workers and their families would be eligible.
Around 10 million people qualify, including supermarket workers, teachers, delivery drivers and religious staff.
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