COVID-19: Boris Johnson promises to “massively” increase screening

(London) Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “massively” increase testing for the new coronavirus in the face of mounting criticism of his strategy for the pandemic.

France Media Agency

“We are massively increasing the tests,” assured the head of government in a video posted on Twitter from his apartment in Downing Street where he is in quarantine after being diagnosed positive for COVID – 19 last week.

“This is how we are going to unlock the coronavirus puzzle […] and defeat it,” said the conservative leader.

This statement came after a “sad day” Wednesday, recognized Mr. Johnson, with the announcement of 563 additional deaths related to COVID – 19, a record. In total, the health authorities counted 2352 dead at the hospital.

Thursday, the press unanimously attacked the government on the question of screening, of the left tabloid The Mirror , which denounces a “disaster” in the conservative daily life The Telegraph , generally very favorable to the Prime Minister, who worries about its one of the “unanswered questions”.

The Daily Mail found it “shocking” that only 2000 NHS employees, the public health service, have been tested.

This figure is “far from what we need to achieve, but it's a good start,” defended Paul Cosford, medical director for Public Health England on the BBC.

In total so far, approximately 153 000 tests were conducted detecting near 30 000 positive cases.

The British authorities had initially chosen to reserve the tests for the most critical cases, but have revised their strategy and intend to pass from 8000 tests carried out daily at 15 000 in the coming days.

However, they do not manage to ramp up as much as desired because of the difficulty in obtaining supplies, demand being strong all over the world, and because private laboratories are not authorized to test, this who could change.

The objective is in particular to return to work, in the event of negative results, a part of the medical staff currently in quarantine, estimated at a quarter of the workforce.

Some caregivers have been refused screening because they had not made an appointment, reported The Sun .

Joanna Pasieka, a 30 caregiver, went to a screening center located in Wembley, in the north west London, on the advice of emergency services. “They told me to come here, but they don't want me to test myself here without email. I don't even know who I should contact to get an appointment, ”she told the newspaper.

In addition to the low number of screenings, caregivers are alarmed by the lack of masks and medical suits. Respirators are also in short supply, which will force doctors to make “serious decisions” and determine which patients can benefit from them, warned the British Medical Association, which represents doctors and medical students.

According to The Guardian , a large London hospital almost ran out of oxygen faced with the influx of patients with COVID – 19 requiring respiratory assistance.