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Boris Johnson claims the UK is testing ‘literally hundreds of thousands of people every day’

Boris Johnson tonight claimed the UK is testing ‘literally hundreds of thousands of people every day’

Boris Johnson tonight claimed the UK will test ‘literally hundreds of thousands of people every day’ as it moves towards finally leaving lockdown – despite the government failing to hit its daily target of 100,000 swabs for eight days in a row.

In his speech to the nation setting out a three-stage exit plan, the Prime Minister said Britain had made ‘fast progress’ on testing, even though Number 10 has repeatedly been accused of being too slow to respond to the crisis.

Figures released today show fewer than 93,000 tests were carried out on May 9, meaning officials haven’t met their ambitious six-figure pledge since May 2.

But questions have been raised as to whether ministers ever actually met the target, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock accused of fiddling the figures to hit his much-vaunted goal by the start of this month. No more than 25,000 tests were carried out each day in the first three weeks of April. 

Official data released by the Department of Health each day show the government has never tested more than 100,000 people in a 24-hour period. 

It comes after it was revealed today that up to 50,000 coronavirus test samples had to be sent from the UK to the US after ‘operational issues’ in the laboratory network led to delays in the system. 

In other developments to the UK’s testing fiasco, it was revealed this weekend that key workers trying to book a coronavirus test using the government’s website were offering slots requiring a 400-mile round trip. 

Results for some patients are taking up to 10 days to come back from the laboratory – despite ministers aiming to send results within 48 to 72 hours of the test.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously warned no country should even consider lifting social distancing measures until it has the ability to test every suspected case.

Without mass testing, people with symptoms must simply assume they have the virus and self-isolate, which experts fear they will refuse to do if frustration builds after months of lockdown.

Ministers are currently clueless as to how big the UK’s outbreak truly is because of their controversial decision to abandon a widespread testing regime before the crisis began to take hold and spread throughout Britain.

Figures released today show fewer than 93,000 tests were carried out on May 9, meaning officials haven’t met their ambitious pledge of 100,000 a day since May 2

HAS NUMBER 10 EVER ACTUALLY CARRIED OUT 100,000 TESTS A DAY?

Matt Hancock was last week accused of blatantly fiddling the figures to hit his much-vaunted target for 100,000 coronavirus tests in a day.

The Health Secretary faced claims he used postal tests yet to be completed and multiple checks on the same people to hit his six-figure milestone.

He used an appearance at Downing Street to bullishly claim success after setting the significant target a month ago.

Appearing live on television, he told the nation there were 122,347 tests in the 24 hours to 9am, branding it an ‘incredible achievement’. 

But Mr Hancock faced an immediate wave of condemnation as it became clear that the number appeared to only tell half the story.

Official figures posted online showed that his questionable calculation included thousands of tests kits that were sent out to homes and hospitals.

This meant some of them – in the region of 40,000 – had yet to be used, returned or even processed.   

Mr Hancock dodged questions about whether the figures had been cooked, saying the allegation was ‘not something I recognise’. 

Labour accused ministers of ‘moving the goalposts to hit their own arbitrary target’.

In his speech to the nation tonight, Mr Johnson said: ‘We must reverse rapidly the awful epidemics in care homes and in the NHS, and though the numbers are coming down sharply now, there is plainly much more to be done.

‘And if we are to control this virus, then we must have a world-beating system for testing potential victims, and for tracing their contacts.

‘So that – all told – we are testing literally hundreds of thousands of people every day.

‘We have made fast progress on testing – but there is so much more to do now, and we can.

‘When this began, we hadn’t seen this disease before, and we didn’t fully understand its effects.

‘With every day we are getting more and more data. We are shining the light of science on this invisible killer, and we will pick it up where it strikes.’ 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News that the Labour Party had pushed the Government to ‘speed up’ its response to the pandemic.

He added: ‘We pushed the Government on lockdown, we pushed them on testing, we pushed them on PPE.

‘Now we pushed and challenged with the purpose, which was to try to get them to speed up.

‘And I said that under my leadership we’re not out to score party political points. So it was to get them to speed up and to ramp up.’

Figures released by the Department of Health this afternoon showed that 92,837 tests were carried out on May 9.  

It means more than 1.8million swabs have now been carried out since Britain began to test patients at the start of the crisis.

50,000 TEST SAMPLES ARE SENT FROM THE UK TO THE US DUE TO OPERATIONAL ISSUES 

Up to 50,000 coronavirus test samples had to be sent from the UK to the US after ‘operational issues’ in the lab network led to delays in the system. 

The Department of Health said sending swabs abroad was to deal with so-called teething problems in a rapidly-expanded testing system.

It is understood the test results will be validated back in the UK and communicated to patients ‘as quickly as possible’.

The Department of Health said work has been undertaken to resolve the issues and capacity is quickly being restored.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The expansion of the UK’s coronavirus testing network has involved setting up an entirely new ‘Lighthouse’ lab network to process test swabs.

‘When problems arise, we have contingencies in place which include creating extra temporary capacity for our labs or sending swabs abroad to partner labs for completion.

‘Of course, our partner labs must match our high standards.’

The Sunday Telegraph reported the samples were airlifted to the US in chartered flights from Stansted Airport.

Figures also show 1.3million Britons have now been tested for COVID-19 – around 2 per cent of the 66million population.  

It means that roughly 14 tests are carried out on every 10 people, suggesting that a third of suspected patients are tested twice.   

People may be tested twice if something goes wrong during analysis, to confirm the result, or if a doctor receives a negative result for their patient and doesn’t believe it.

While in other cases someone may be tested again after developing symptoms for a second time but testing negative in an earlier swab. 

The government has faced huge backlash over the lack of mass testing since the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, began spreading on British soil in February.

The UK effectively abandoned efforts to screen everyone with symptoms last month when the response moved from ‘containment’ to the ‘delay’ phase.

Instead tests were largely restricted to those in hospital, while those who suspected they were mildly infected were urged to self-isolate.

Ministers were stung by comparisons with countries like Germany and South Korea, which done huge scale testing and have had much lower death rates. 

Several private labs – which have the capacity to conduct thousands of tests a day – said their offers to help the Government had fallen on deaf ears in the early stage of the outbreak.

In response to news that the UK had sent test samples to the US, the Department of Health said it was one of the contingencies to deal with so-called teething problems in a rapidly-expanded testing system.

It is understood the test results will be validated back in the UK and communicated to patients ‘as quickly as possible’.

ARE ANTIBODY TESTS FINALLY ON THEIR WAY? 

Accurate antibody tests that are able to tell millions of Britons if they have had coronavirus are set to be rolled out across the UK within a fortnight, it was revealed last week.

Testing giant Roche Diagnostics claimed it has created a kit accurate enough to be used at scale – and the firm said it has enough stock to provide hundreds of thousands to the NHS every week.

It comes after weeks of disappointment regarding Britain’s mass roll-out of antibody tests, which are designed to tell if someone has contracted the virus in the past and indicate whether they may now be immune. They do not accurately tell if someone is currently infected.

Despite promising home antibody tests, the UK has not yet approved any because the Government insists it can’t find a DIY finger-prick kit that is accurate enough – despite only evaluating a handful of tests.

Switzerland-based Roche claims its lab-based ‘Elecsys’ test, which isn’t designed to give people a result in their own home, can spot 100 per cent of people who have not had the coronavirus and 99.8 per cent of people who have been infected.

The blood sample kit, which can be processed by machines already used in NHS labs across the country, has been granted the vital ‘CE mark’ that shows it is safe. Medics can get results in just 18 minutes.

Insiders said it is unlikely the tests will be available to purchase privately, at least initially, because officials wouldn’t be able to access the data they desperately need to plot the spread of the virus. It is not clear how much the tests could cost, if and when they can be purchased.

Instead, the test is likely to play a role in the Government’s ‘surveillance’ programme, which will see nurses take blood samples from a thousand households and send them to Oxford University laboratories so officials can work out how far the virus has spread in Britain. 

Antibody tests are considered key to easing the draconian lockdown and getting Britain back on its feet because they give the clearest possible picture of how widespread the coronavirus is in the UK. 

The department said work has been undertaken to resolve the issues and capacity is quickly being restored.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The expansion of the UK’s coronavirus testing network has involved setting up an entirely new ‘Lighthouse’ lab network to process test swabs.

‘When problems arise, we have contingencies in place which include creating extra temporary capacity for our labs or sending swabs abroad to partner labs for completion.

‘Of course, our partner labs must match our high standards.’

The Sunday Telegraph reported the samples were airlifted to the US in chartered flights from Stansted airport. 

But health leaders said that they expected ‘fluctuations’ in the figures, and that testing was still much higher than it was at the start of the outbreak.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said not much could be read into day-to-day variations.

Speaking at the briefing, he added: ‘We are now really at a high plateau, in the region of 100,000 tests per day.

‘There is some fluctuation, and quite frankly I expect there to be some fluctuation on a day-to-day basis.

‘I don’t think we can read too much into day-to-day variations, but the macro-picture is this is now at a much, much higher level than it ever was at the beginning of this crisis.’

Prof Van-Tam also said that the test-and-trace strategy of finding people with the virus and tracking people they have been in contact with was part of the measures needed to ease the lockdown.

When asked if he agreed that new infections had to be down in the hundreds a day for the strategy to be effective when it is currently in the thousands, he said it was entirely appropriate for it to be part of the ‘overall measures’ to tackle the virus.

Prof Van-Tam told the briefing that how extensive the strategy had to be depended on the level of disease in the population.

He said: ‘Those two together make a package of test and trace, and we have been very clear that test and trace on its own is part of the solution to how we continue to live with this virus after the lockdown.

‘It is not the total solution.

‘How extensive the test and tracing needs to be clearly depends on the level of disease in the population but it is entirely appropriate to see it as part of the overall measures that will give us more flexibility and more room as to what we can do in the social distancing space to ease things.

‘But on its own it is a contribution, it is not a total solution.’

HOW NUMBER 10 HAS RAMPED UP ITS TESTING CAPACITY 

DATE

Apr 1

Apr 2

Apr 3

Apr 4

Apr 5

Apr 6

Apr 7

Apr 8

Apr 9

Apr 10

Apr 11

Apr 12

Apr 13

Apr 14

Apr 15

Apr 16

Apr 17

Apr 18

Apr 19

Apr 20

Apr 21

Apr 22

Apr 23

Apr 24

Apr 25

Apr 26

Apr 27

Apr 28

Apr 29

Apr 30

May 1

May 2

May 3

May 4

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 8

May 9

May 10

TESTS PER DAY

10,412

10,657

11,764

10,984

11,085

13,069

14,006

14,682

16,095

19,116

18,091

18,000

14,506

14,982

15,994

18,665

21,328

21,389

21,626

19,316

18,206

22,814

23,560

28,532

28,760

29,058

37,024

43,563

54,429

81,611

122,347

105,937

76,496

85,186

84,806

69,463

86,583

97,029

96,878

92,837

The news comes after Matt Hancock urged Boris Johnson to ‘give me a break’ in a furious bust-up over the coronavirus crisis. 

Pressure intensified on Mr Hancock over his handling of the crisis last night after more than 25 million goggles were found to offer frontline NHS workers inadequate defence against the deadly virus.

The latest in a string of embarrassing Government failures over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) came as senior sources suggested to The Mail on Sunday that Mr Hancock was now living ‘on borrowed time’ in the Cabinet.

It comes after it was claimed last week that accurate antibody tests that are able to tell millions of Britons if they have had coronavirus are set to be rolled out across the UK within a fortnight.

Testing giant Roche Diagnostics claimed it has created a kit accurate enough to be used at scale – and the firm said it has enough stock to provide hundreds of thousands to the NHS every week.

It comes after weeks of disappointment regarding Britain’s mass roll-out of antibody tests, which are designed to tell if someone has contracted the virus in the past and indicate whether they may now be immune. They do not accurately tell if someone is currently infected.

Despite promising home antibody tests, the UK has not yet approved any because the Government insists it can’t find a DIY finger-prick kit that is accurate enough – despite only evaluating a handful of tests.

Switzerland-based Roche claims its lab-based ‘Elecsys’ test, which isn’t designed to give people a result in their own home, can spot 100 per cent of people who have not had the coronavirus and 99.8 per cent of people who have been infected.

The blood sample kit, which can be processed by machines already used in NHS labs across the country, has been granted the vital ‘CE mark’ that shows it is safe. Medics can get results in just 18 minutes.

Insiders said it is unlikely the tests will be available to purchase privately, at least initially, because officials wouldn’t be able to access the data they desperately need to plot the spread of the virus. It is not clear how much the tests could cost, if and when they can be purchased.

Instead, the test is likely to play a role in the Government’s ‘surveillance’ programme, which will see nurses take blood samples from a thousand households and send them to Oxford University laboratories so officials can work out how far the virus has spread in Britain. 

Antibody tests are considered key to easing the draconian lockdown and getting Britain back on its feet because they give the clearest possible picture of how widespread the coronavirus is in the UK. 

Boris Johnson’s speech in full: Prime Minister’s lockdown address to the nation 

WHO CAN APPLY FOR A TEST?

WHO CAN APPLY FOR A TEST? 

  • An essential worker with coronavirus symptoms
  • Aged 65 or over with coronavirus symptoms
  • Someone who cannot work from home and has coronavirus symptoms (for example, construction workers or delivery drivers)
  • Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can apply if they live with an essential worker, a person aged 65 or over, or someone who travels to work
  • You can also apply for a test if you have a clinical referral from NHS 111 online

WHO CLASSES AS AN ESSENTIAL WORKER? 

Key workers include NHS staff, police, teachers, armed forces personnel, religious staff, delivery workers and journalists.

The Department of Health provides a full list here. 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19? 

The NHS says the only coronavirus symptoms are a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

But other health bodies around the world recognise other signs of the deadly infection, including a fever, a loss of taste and smell, and muscle pains.  

It is now almost two months since the people of this country began to put up with restrictions on their freedom – your freedom – of a kind that we have never seen before in peace or war.

And you have shown the good sense to support those rules overwhelmingly.

You have put up with all the hardships of that programme of social distancing.

Because you understand that as things stand, and as the experience of every other country has shown, it’s the only way to defeat the coronavirus – the most vicious threat this country has faced in my lifetime.

And though the death toll has been tragic, and the suffering immense.

And though we grieve for all those we have lost, it is a fact that by adopting those measures we prevented this country from being engulfed by what could have been a catastrophe in which the reasonable worst case scenario was half a million fatalities. 

And it is thanks to your effort and sacrifice in stopping the spread of this disease that the death rate is coming down and hospital admissions are coming down.

And thanks to you we have protected our NHS and saved many thousands of lives.

And so I know – you know – that it would be madness now to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike.

We must stay alert.

We must continue to control the virus and save lives.

And yet we must also recognise that this campaign against the virus has come at colossal cost to our way of life.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street to sketch out a road map from lockdown

Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street to sketch out a road map from lockdown

The Prime Minister pre-recorded the address which was broadcast at 7pm this evening

The Prime Minister pre-recorded the address which was broadcast at 7pm this evening 

WHAT ARE THE TESTS THAT PEOPLE ARE GIVEN TO TELL IF THEY ARE INFECTED? 

Britons who are tested for COVID-19 are either swabbed at a drive-through testing site or have to swab themselves at home.

The test looks at whether someone is currently infected, unlike an antibody test which tells if someone has been infected in the past.

The swab test is sometimes called an ‘antigen test’ – but the one currently being used in Britain is actually known as a PCR test. 

It involves inserting a long, flexible cotton bud into the nostril and along the nose ‘floor’. This is supposed to be done slowly so that it is comfortable.

The aim is to reach the posterior nasopharynx, a cavity made up of muscle and connective tissue, covered in cells and mucous that are similar to the nose. It continues down into the throat.

The swab is rotated several times in order to get enough cells.

The sample is then sent to a lab, where it will be tested to determine if the patient’s cells are infected with the virus.

The coronavirus is a RNA virus, which means it uses ribonucleic acid as its genetic material. A process called reverse transcription is needed to transcribe the RNA into readable DNA.

A swab sample doesn’t collect much RNA in one go, therefore a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to rapidly make billions of copies so it can be analysed.

The DNA is dyed a fluorescent colour, which glows if the coronavirus is present, confirming a diagnosis.

The PCR test is more reliable but takes longer, while the antibody test is faster but more likely to produce an inaccurate result. It does not look for evidence of past infection.  

WHAT IS AN ANTIBODY TEST?  

An antibody test is one which tests whether someone’s immune system is equipped to fight a specific disease or infection.

When someone gets infected with a virus their immune system must work out how to fight it off and produce substances called antibodies.

These are extremely specific and are usually only able to tackle one strain of one virus. They are produced in a way which makes them able to latch onto that specific virus and destroy it.

For example, if someone catches COVID-19, they will develop COVID-19 antibodies for their body to use to fight it off.

The body then stores versions of these antibodies in the immune system so that if it comes into contact with that same virus again it will be able to fight it off straight away and probably avoid someone feeling any symptoms at all.

To test for these antibodies, medics or scientists can take a fluid sample from someone – usually blood – and mix it with part of the virus to see if there is a reaction between the two.

If there is a reaction, it means someone has the antibodies and their body knows how to fight off the infection – they are immune. If there is no reaction it means they have not had it yet.

We can see it all around us in the shuttered shops and abandoned businesses and darkened pubs and restaurants.

And there are millions of people who are both fearful of this terrible disease, and at the same time also fearful of what this long period of enforced inactivity will do to their livelihoods and their mental and physical wellbeing.

To their futures and the futures of their children.

So I want to provide tonight – for you – the shape of a plan to address both fears.

Both to beat the virus and provide the first sketch of a road map for reopening society.

A sense of the way ahead, and when and how and on what basis we will take the decisions to proceed.

I will be setting out more details in Parliament tomorrow and taking questions from the public in the evening.

I have consulted across the political spectrum, across all four nations of the UK.

And though different parts of the country are experiencing the pandemic at different rates.

And though it is right to be flexible in our response.

I believe that as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, there is a strong resolve to defeat this together.

And today a general consensus on what we could do.

And I stress could.

Because although we have a plan, it is a conditional plan.

And since our priority is to protect the public and save lives, we cannot move forward unless we satisfy the five tests.

We must protect our NHS.

We must see sustained falls in the death rate.

We must see sustained and considerable falls in the rate of infection.

We must sort out our challenges in getting enough PPE to the people who need it, and yes, it is a global problem but we must fix it.

And last, we must make sure that any measures we take do not force the reproduction rate of the disease – the R – back up over one, so that we have the kind of exponential growth we were facing a few weeks ago.

And to chart our progress and to avoid going back to square one, we are establishing a new Covid Alert System run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre.

And that Covid Alert Level will be determined primarily by R and the number of coronavirus cases.

And in turn that Covid Alert Level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures – the lower the level the fewer the measures.

The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be.

There will be five alert levels.

Level One means the disease is no longer present in the UK and Level Five is the most critical – the kind of situation we could have had if the NHS had been overwhelmed.

Over the period of the lockdown we have been in Level Four, and it is thanks to your sacrifice we are now in a position to begin to move in steps to Level Three.

And as we go everyone will have a role to play in keeping the R down.

By staying alert and following the rules.

The PM said: 'We will come back from this devilish illness. We will come back to health, and robust health.'

The PM said: ‘We will come back from this devilish illness. We will come back to health, and robust health.’

And to keep pushing the number of infections down there are two more things we must do.

We must reverse rapidly the awful epidemics in care homes and in the NHS, and though the numbers are coming down sharply now, there is plainly much more to be done.

And if we are to control this virus, then we must have a world-beating system for testing potential victims, and for tracing their contacts.

So that – all told – we are testing literally hundreds of thousands of people every day.

We have made fast progress on testing – but there is so much more to do now, and we can.

When this began, we hadn’t seen this disease before, and we didn’t fully understand its effects.

With every day we are getting more and more data.

We are shining the light of science on this invisible killer, and we will pick it up where it strikes.

Because our new system will be able in time to detect local flare-ups – in your area – as well as giving us a national picture.

And yet when I look at where we are tonight, we have the R below one, between 0.5 and 0.9 – but potentially only just below one.

And though we have made progress in satisfying at least some of the conditions I have given.

We have by no means fulfilled all of them.

And so no, this is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week.

Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.

And the first step is a change of emphasis that we hope that people will act on this week.

We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must.

We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.

So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.

And to ensure you are safe at work we have been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.

And when you do go to work, if possible do so by car or even better by walking or bicycle. But just as with workplaces, public transport operators will also be following COVID-secure standards.

The PM urged people back to work if they cannot work from home, but stressed that social distancing should continue to be observed

The PM urged people back to work if they cannot work from home, but stressed that social distancing should continue to be observed

The PM showered praise on the public and particularly NHS workers and frontline staff

The PM showered praise on the public and particularly NHS workers and frontline staff

The PM said: 'Though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before. More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing'

The PM said: ‘Though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before. More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing’

And from this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.

And so every day, with ever increasing data, we will be monitoring the R and the number of new infections, and the progress we are making, and if we as a nation begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months we may be able to go further.

In step two – at the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays. And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport.

And step three – at the earliest by July – and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.

Throughout this period of the next two months we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity.

We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health.

And I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs.

It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe social distancing, and to keep that R down.

And to prevent re-infection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.

And it is because of your efforts to get the R down and the number of infections down here, that this measure will now be effective.

And of course we will be monitoring our progress locally, regionally, and nationally and if there are outbreaks, if there are problems, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes.

We have been through the initial peak – but it is coming down the mountain that is often more dangerous.

We have a route, and we have a plan, and everyone in government has the all-consuming pressure and challenge to save lives, restore livelihoods and gradually restore the freedoms that we need.

But in the end this is a plan that everyone must make work.

And when I look at what you have done already.

The patience and common sense you have shown.

The fortitude of the elderly whose isolation we all want to end as fast as we can.

The incredible bravery and hard work of our NHS staff, our care workers.

The devotion and self-sacrifice of all those in every walk of life who are helping us to beat this disease.

Police, bus drivers, train drivers, pharmacists, supermarket workers, road hauliers, bin collectors, cleaners, security guards, postal workers, our teachers and a thousand more.

The scientists who are working round the clock to find a vaccine.

When I think of the millions of everyday acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that are being performed across this country.

And that have helped to get us through this first phase.

I know that we can use this plan to get us through the next.

And if we can’t do it by those dates, and if the alert level won’t allow it, we will simply wait and go on until we have got it right.

We will come back from this devilish illness.

We will come back to health, and robust health.

And though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before.

More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing.

But for now we must stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

Thank you very much. 

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