Jonathan Reynolds has said that coronavirus testing in the UK is “nowhere near on track”, and stressed that mass testing will be a “viable means” for the country to exit lockdown.
In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary reiterated that Labour supports the lockdown but repeated the party’s call for discussion on an exit strategy.
Reynolds cited the importance of both testing and contact tracing as part of this and highlighted issues with the current testing programme – including that many people are required to travel long distances to a facility.
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions @jreynoldsMP says contact tracing and mass testing will be necessary to come out of lockdown, but adds that #coronavirus testing in the UK is "nowhere near on track"#KayBurley#COVID19 latest: https://t.co/256JhPtRWc pic.twitter.com/cbcMMjl6Is
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) April 27, 2020
The comments from the MP for Stalybridge and Hyde follow those of the Rachel Reeves over the weekend, who said that community testing and contract tracing would have to be reintroduced for lockdown measures to be lifted.
The Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster argued that mass testing is needed at a community level, and urged the government to “work with local authorities, to open up town halls and libraries to have testing in the communities”.
The current number of recorded coronavirus cases in the UK stands at 152,840, but with low levels of testing the true figure is thought to be much higher. There have been a total of 20,732 confirmed hospital deaths linked to the virus.