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Redbridge councillors criticise government for falling short of coronavirus testing goals

PUBLISHED: 12:51 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:51 23 April 2020

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has successfully pioneered the first coronavirus antibody test. Picture: PA/Andrew Milligan

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has successfully pioneered the first coronavirus antibody test. Picture: PA/Andrew Milligan

PA Wire/PA Images

Redbridge Labour councillors have hit out at the lack of coronavirus testing as the government is far below the goal of conducting 100,000 daily tests by the end of April.

Cllr Paul Donovan said Cllr Paul Donovan said "let’s applaud our NHS and care workers but also demand action on the ground from government.” Picture: Paul Donovan

Council leader Jas Athwal confirmed the NHS is now offering frontline council staff, such as care workers, dedicated testing slots but said: “Ideally this should have begun many weeks ago.”

He added: “It’s deeply concerning that the UK is falling short of the government’s testing target.

“I appreciate that this is a difficult situation but it is essential that necessary testing is made available as soon as possible.”

Cllr Paul Donovan said though it’s great that people are coming out every Thursday to show their solidarity with health and care workers, more needs to be done to help them.

He said: “It is a scandal that these people who are in the front line of the struggle against Covid-19 are not being provided with the personal protection equipment needed.

“This should have been remedied weeks ago but as with much else, government rhetoric lags behind reality on the ground.

“Equally, the lack of mass testing means healthcare staff and the rest of us need to stay under lockdown longer than would otherwise be necessary. Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, at present the level is almost 23,000.

“These are things that need urgently addressing to save lives and get our country out of this mess.
“So let’s applaud our NHS and care workers but also demand action on the ground from government.”

Speaking in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “All week I’ve heard from the frontline, from care workers who are frankly desperate for tests for their residents and for themselves.”


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