By Alex Trelinski • 29 April 2020 • 19:58
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned that the peak of coronavirus cases has not yet been passed in the country, as the death toll passed 26,000.
At the daily briefing in Downing Street, Raab warned the UK is at a “dangerous moment” over the virus peak.
Raab said: “We are coming through the peak but we are not there yet, which is why we are keeping our focus on the social distancing measures.”
Meanwhile, 52,429 coronavirus tests had taken place as of Tuesday, still well short of the government’s target of 100,000 tests per day by Thursday.
Raab said the new figure for coronavirus deaths did not represent “a sudden surge”, as it includes retrospective deaths from care homes spread between March 2 and April 28.
At the briefing, the Foreign Secretary was asked why testing in care homes had not started sooner.
He said such a suggestion would have required “enormous testing capacity”.
He added that the government had expanded eligibility to include “anyone in a care home whether resident or staff”, but admitted there had been “a distribution issue”.
“There is no sugar coating the challenge we have had with that,” he said.
However, Mr Raab said the government was now doing “everything that we possibly can” to improve supply and delivery.
Asked later whether deaths might have been avoided with better testing in car homes, Mr Raab said there was “always learning in an unprecedented crisis like this”.
“The key thing above all is to manage the ebb and flow of people into those care homes that might carry the virus,” he said.
Public Health England’s medical director, Prof Yvonne Doyle, said there had always been intervention where there have been outbreaks in care homes.
She said officials had “learned a lot about how the virus is behaving in different populations”, adding that people over 75 “demise quite quickly” with the virus.
It may not have been possible to get to the test by the time the event happened, Prof Doyle said.
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