More than 163,100 people have been tested for Covid-19 in the UK as of Thursday morning, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, The Independent reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will “massively” increase its testing for the virus as the government continues to face intense pressure over its policy.
Speaking from self-isolation on Wednesday, the prime minister stated that the government needed to “massively ramp up” testing NHS staff so those who are self-isolating unnecessarily can return to work.
It came as Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of PHE, claimed “everybody involved is frustrated” by the low number of tests being carried out. He pointed to ongoing capacity issues and noted the “core priority” until now has been testing hospital patients with suspected Covid-19.
A Downing Street spokesperson stated on Thursday around 2,800 NHS staff have been tested for coronavirus at drive-in testing facilities, in addition to a “significant number” at NHS and PHE laboratories.
The UK has gone into lockdown as it battles the pandemic, with people told to stay at home unless it is deemed essential, for example to get groceries or medicine. All non-essential businesses have been told to shut their doors, while schools have also been closed.