Around 1 in 8 people have now received a coronavirus test at least once since the launch of NHS Test and Trace on 28 May.
Latest weekly figures show that 1,588,760 tests were processed in the UK 2 during 17 – 23 September. With close to 500 testing sites now operational across the UK, people with coronavirus symptoms are now travelling shorter distances to get tested, with the median distance just 4.3 miles, down from 5.2 miles the previous week.
The service has also seen significant improvements in turnaround times compared to the previous week. The median time taken to receive a result from taking a test in person is now 25 to 29 hours, with 70.6% of results received the day after they were taken, this is compared to 52.9% in the previous week.
‘One in eight people in England have now received a test at least once and with nearly 500 testing sites across the UK, the median distance to a test site is now just 4.3 miles. These are achievements in which everyone involved can be immensely proud,’ said Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding.
‘We are continuing to work tirelessly to increase capacity and make tests as accessible as possible. Our new lab partnership with Birmingham University is another example of how the public, private and academic sectors are working together to meet our target of 500,000 test capacity a day.’
Work continues to expand testing capacity across the UK, to reach a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. NHS Test and Trace has now reached more than half a million people, including those testing positive and their contacts, to slow the transmission of coronavirus in England.
‘I am very excited that we can be part of the extension testing that will provide a needed boost to national COVID-19 testing efforts,’ said Professor Alan McNally, Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham.
‘Universities like Birmingham are perfectly placed to provide the expertise required to make this happen and I am confident we can make a significant contribution to COVID-19 testing and containing virus transmission in this country.’