Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the UK could have been ahead of the rest of the world globally if it expanded and increased coronavirus testing in mid-March. While speaking on Channel 4 News, both Mr Hunt and current Health Secretary Matt Hancock clashed on the best testing plan to deal with coronavirus. Mr Hunt said: “One thing that puzzles people is why we stopped community testing on the 12th of March.
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“You could, for example, have announced the 100,000 daily tests target on the 12th of March.
“And if we’d done that we would have been ahead in the global race for the reagent chemicals.
“We could perhaps be testing everyone who leaves hospital now and testing more people in care homes.
“So why the three-week gap between stopping community testing and the announcement of the 100,000 test target?”
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Mr Hancock argued that he did not believe the UK would be in any better position if the country had begun testing earlier.
He added that it was always the Government’s intention to increase testing throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Hancock said: “The challenge is the increase, the radical increase in the amount of testing over the last two months.
“Now I have set the ambitious goal of 100,000 tests by the end of this month.”
Mr Hancock went on to explain why the Government had not been testing as many people as was hoped.
He continued: “As the epidemic increase exponentially at that point in the middle of March, it means that the incidence of the outbreak was broad.
“It meant that we weren’t able to test everybody with symptoms.
“But I want to get back to the position now that we’ve got the curve under control, I want to be able to get back to the position where we can test everybody with symptoms.
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“I anticipate being able to do that relatively soon.”
Unsatisfied with the response, Mr Hunt reflected on the success of Germany during this pandemic.
He claimed that Germany has a population 25 percent larger than the UK but has only had a third the number of deaths.
He added the country never stopped testing in the community during the crisis.
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