Coronavirus UK: Amazon could deliver swab kits in pilot scheme

Coronavirus swab kits could be delivered to UK homes by Amazon in pilot scheme as No10 reveals testing is only at half capacity

  • Britain’s coronavirus testing programme is only at half capacity, No10 admitted
  • In just 13 days Matt Hancock promised the UK will test 100,000 people a day
  • But only 18,665 tests were performed on Wednesday according to latest data
  • It was reported last night that Amazon will send home-testing kits to key workers
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Coronavirus swab kits could be delivered to homes by Amazon in a pilot scheme, as No10 admits the testing programme is only at half capacity. 

With just 13 days to go until Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised the UK will test 100,000 people a day, but figures showed there has been no progress for a whole week.

Only 18,665 tests were performed on Wednesday, according to the latest data- this is down from a peak of 19,116 the previous Thursday.

But the Prime Minister’s spokesman admitted the country has the facilities to conduct more than 35,000 tests a day. 

It came as a pilot is starting this week of home test kits that will be delivered by Amazon, as reported by The Times.

Matt Hancock, pictured yesterday at the Downing Street press conference, claimed there was lower than expected demand for coronavirus tests over the weekend

The online retail behemoth will send swabs to people’s homes and tell them to take a sample from their throats an hour before they are picked up again.

The results of the test will then be sent by text message. It is understood the pilot scheme will begin with key workers. 

This would be a different test to unsuccessful attempt to get a home antibody test, which would show people who have recovered from the virus.

The Health Secretary is under mounting pressure over the UK’s testing regime after he claimed that there had been lower demand than expected for checks over the Easter weekend which meant tests could now be expanded in the social care sector.

The Health Secretary has set a target of 100,000 daily tests by the end of April. The graph shows how much work the government has to do to hit the six figure number

The Health Secretary has set a target of 100,000 daily tests by the end of April. The graph shows how much work the government has to do to hit the six figure number

That claim sparked controversy, with health bosses insistent they are still struggling to get all of their staff the tests they need to get them back to work.

Four-fifths of Britons say they would not feel safe going back to normal life now with HALF resigned to curbs lasting into June 

Britain is not ready for the coronavirus lockdown to be lifted even if the government wanted to, a poll revealed last night

Research for MailOnline found 80 per cent would not feel safe going back to everyday life at the moment, with nearly 60 per cent saying they are not comfortable leaving the house. 

Around half are now resigned to the draconian ‘social distancing’ curbs being in place into June – and 37 per cent say they will keep obeying the rules indefinitely if the government believes it is necessary.

The extraordinary findings in the polling by Redfield & Wilton come despite some 43 per cent reporting that the crisis is damaging their mental health. 

The figures underline the challenge for ministers amid fears that the message that people must stay at home to save the NHS has been too successful.

The Institute of Biomedical Science said the true reason is that there is still a shortage of chemicals, reagents and swabs. 

Healthcare and union sources told MailOnline the claims of lower demand could be being used as a ‘fig leaf’ by the government to cover up its testing failures.  

They expressed concerns that self-isolating NHS workers are not receiving the invites they need to visit drive-through testing sites and that the location of the sites is making it difficult for some staff – especially those who are unwell or who do not have their own transport – to access them.

The revelation that the number of tests being carried out is still far below the 25,000 figure will prompt renewed scrutiny of the government’s testing operation and fresh questions about whether enough is being done to provide the checks to the people who need them. 

It came as last night Justice Secretary Robert Buckland appeared to suggest the UK’s death rate might have been lower if testing had been carried out more widely.

Appearing on Question Time, he suggested Germany’s death rate ‘is lower because their rate of testing has been much, much higher’. 

He said the UK would have a ‘different set of statistics’ if it were ‘testing more widely’.