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Michael Gove: The first of thousands of new fans will be delivered to the NHS next week
The United Kingdom must go "further, faster" to increase its coronavirus testing capacity, said Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.
The government has set a target to run 25,000 tests a day – but that will not be achieved until the end of April.
Gove said there is a global shortage of chemicals needed to test patients.
More than 8,000 patients were tested on Monday.
Speaking at the government's daily coronavirus briefing, Mr. Gove said: "More NHS employees are returning to the front lines, and more tests are being carried out to help those who isolate themselves return and to protect those who work so hard. in our hospitals and social assistance.
"But while the rate of testing is increasing, we need to go further, faster."
He added that a "critical constraint" on the ability to increase test capacity was the availability of chemicals needed to test patients.
"We are working with companies around the world to ensure that we obtain the material necessary to increase testing of all types," he said.
His comments come amid growing criticism of some health professionals' inability to test.
The Royal College of Physicians said that about a quarter of doctors are unemployed because they are having to isolate themselves – either because they are showing symptoms or because a member of their family is.
A fifth of nurses were affected, said the Royal College of Nursing, while the British Medical Association said the team started testing at the weekend, but only in low numbers.
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Chaand Nagpaul, president of BMA, said: "It has been more than two weeks since the government said it would launch priority tests for the health team.
"But many doctors still have no idea where or how they can get tested."
Meanwhile, an A&E nurse who declined to be identified told the BBC: "Staff are not being tested and protective clothing is limited.
"It sounds annoying. Our team is very strong at work and our matron said that no team should approach patients if we don't have protective clothing."
"Protective clothing is provided daily, but we are going through it so quickly that it is limited by the end of the day."
Later, Gove said the UK was working to secure more fans, including buying them from EU countries and placing orders at home.
The first "of thousands" of new ventilation devices would roll off the production line this weekend and be delivered to the NHS next week, he said.
& # 39; Green shoots & # 39;
It is the result of the biggest daily increase in the number of people who died from coronavirus in the UK – 381 -.
As of 17:00 BST on Monday, the total number of deaths in the UK linked to the virus was 1,789.
But NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said there were still some "green shoots".
He said there was "a bit of a plateau" in the number of new cases, despite the total rising to more than 25,000 cases in total.
At the beginning of the epidemic, the number of cases doubled every three days, but the rate of increase is lower than the current one.
These are largely just cases diagnosed in the hospital, as people with minor illnesses in the community are not being tested.
But Professor Powis added: "It is really important not to read about it too much.
"It is early, we are not out of the forest, we are very much in the forest.
"The number of infections is not increasing as quickly as before.
"So, the ball is green, but only green, and we shouldn't be complacent and we shouldn't take our foot off the pedal."
He also said that there is still "free space" on the NHS to treat patients, despite the growing number of cases.
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Currently, 10,767 people are hospitalized in England, but Powis said that even in London, which recorded the majority of cases in 3,915, there were still free beds, thanks to the increased capacity for intensive care.
The number of beds has been doubled to 1,400, with more to be opened later this week, when the NHS Nightingale – the field hospital at Excel Center in East London – begins accepting patients.
In other parts of England, the Midlands is also beginning to see an increasing number of admissions, with 1,918 currently in the hospital, said Professor Powis.
Gove described the sharp rise in the UK's latest coronavirus-related deaths as "deeply shocking", but he could not say exactly when the epidemic would peak.
"There is no fixed date like Easter, when you know the peak will come, it depends on the actions of all of us," he said.
He added that "now is absolutely not the time for people to imagine that there could be any relaxation or relaxation" of the blocking measures.
In other developments:
- Antimalarial drugs are among those tested in clinical trials in the UK, in an attempt to find drugs to help lessen the effects of the coronavirus.
- A coronavirus app that alerts people if they have recently contacted someone who tested positive for the virus "may play a critical role" in limiting blocking
- Pregnant prisoners may receive temporary release from prison "within a few days" to protect themselves and their unborn children from the virus
- The transaction limit for contactless card payments will increase from £ 30 to £ 45 per transaction starting on Wednesday
- British Airways said it would suspend its London Gatwick schedule
- The UK mortgage market went into confinement when creditors gave up new business
- The group of government ministers met entirely through videoconferencing technology for the first time, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued self-isolation.
- Sales of groceries for the month of March broke all previous UK records, with buyers stocking up on