UK coronavirus live: testing shortage could lead to ‘lockdown by default’, says teaching union head

News updates: government facing escalating pressure over testing crisis ahead of PMQS, as hospitals plug holes in system

9.44am BST

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, was doing the morning broadcast round today on behalf of the government. He was put up to talk about the sentencing white paper, but obviously was asked about coronavirus and the internal market bill too. Here are the main points.

The issue is this – we want to make sure that if we hit a situation where we have this kind of dislocation, this kind of crisis if you like, then we can act swiftly to bring into power the necessary regulations.

And I think while, absolutely we have got parliamentary procedures to allow secondary legislation to come into force with debate and scrutiny, we have to get the balance right.

If we reach that stage [where the government needs to use the powers in bill], the reason for it is because we judge that sadly, despite everybody’s best efforts, the EU is in a position where we think they are actually breaching their obligations to us.

I’m not really a wobbler. I’m someone who knows my own mind and the prime minister knows he will get very clear views from me.

There are of course huge positives in the in-person tests, 90%of those have been returned in a day, that’s great, but clearly when it comes to the tests we have to post out and the delayed response, there is much more work to do.

9.28am BST

Prof Andrew Hayward, director of University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told the Today programme this morning that the government would need to “dramatically” increase Covid-19 testing to half a million people per day if testing was to cope with demand during winter. He explained:

The background to this of course is that we would expect the demand and the capacity to need to rise quite rapidly over the autumn and winter as the number of people who develop symptoms that could be Covid increase.

Some of our research has shown that at least in the winter, you would expect about half a million people a day to develop symptoms that are typical of Covid – and that would be in a winter when there was no Covid – so you can see that the capacity requirements will have to increase dramatically if we are going to keep up.

I think it is possible from a laboratory perspective, I think perhaps one of the more challenging bits is making sure people can be tested close to home because that is one of the key delays at the moment in the system. It is those delays that effect the effectiveness of the system.

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