Growing concerns over care homes as Johnson defends Covid-19 testing system

Boris Johnson said ministers were ‘concerned’ about infection rates in care homes but insisted the testing system was as good as any in Europe.

Growing concerns over care homes as Johnson defends Covid-19 testing system

Boris Johnson has defended the troubled Covid-19 testing system amid mounting fears of a fresh coronavirus crisis in care homes.

The Prime Minister faced MPs as the Government was drawing up a list setting out who will be at the front of the queue for coronavirus tests after a “colossal spike” in demand.

Care home staff and residents are likely to be near the top of the list as Mr Johnson acknowledged ministers were concerned about the rate of infection.

He said a new “action plan” this week would involve tougher rules on the movement of workers between care homes.

Shortly before PMQs, Sir Keir said the test had come back negative and Mr Johnson said “I don’t know why he is not here”.

The Prime Minister had promised that all in-person test results would be back within 24 hours by the end of June.

Amid continuing concerns over the inability to access tests and delays in getting results, Mr Johnson said 89% of those who have in-person tests get them the next day.

“We are working very fast to turn around all the test requests that we get,” he said.

“I think most people looking at the record of this country in delivering tests across this nation will see that it actually compares extremely well with any other European country.”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

As Mr Johnson admitted “we are concerned about the rates of infection in care homes” and promised the new action plan, Ms Rayner said he needed to “get some skates on” to address the issues.

“Those care workers are still not getting the PPE they need, they’re still not getting the testing they need,” she said.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
(PA Graphics)

And she suggested Mr Johnson’s Government was focused more on the continuation of shooting than the return of family life as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.

“People can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, grandparents can’t see their grandchildren and frontline staff can’t get the tests that they need – and what was the top priority for the Covid war cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting,” she said.

“People only with symptoms are the ones that should be actually doing the testing,” he told MPs.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said keeping schools open would become “unsustainable” if issues with testing capacity were not fixed.

The shortage of tests is already putting pressure on other parts of the health service.

Rate of new Covid-19 cases in Bolton
(PA Graphics)

In other developments:

– The area of Rhondda Cynon Taf in south Wales will be placed under a local lockdown following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced.

–  Professor Kevin Fenton, London director of Public Health England, told the Evening Standard that “local curfews so you’re not out drinking until the wee hours of the morning” could be used in future in the capital to curb the spread of the virus.

Cumulative Covid-19 deaths in the UK
(PA Graphics)
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News