Anorak News | Operation Moonshot: Matt Hancock is wrong about his own Covid-19 tests

Operation Moonshot: Matt Hancock is wrong about his own Covid-19 tests

by | 10th, September 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is talking rubbish when he says it’s “inappropriate” for people in England to seek a free Government Covid-19 tests when they don’t have any symptoms. The online system for getting tested has crashed. UK labs have reached capacity, meaning people are unable to book tests or being sent a long way from their home to get one.

In his ham-fisted attempt to blame to the very people seeking to do the right thing and get tested, Hancock cited the example of a school year group that all went for tests. It was “not appropriate” said Hancock. Also wrong are people who want a test before going on holiday, says Hancock.

Inappropriate is not a rule. It’s a judgement made by a man who can see his system failing and knows we can see it, too.

A few hours later, the British Journal of Medicine reported:

The UK government has drawn up plans to carry out up to 10 million covid-19 tests a day by early next year as part of a huge £100bn (€110bn; $130bn) expansion of its national testing programme, documents seen by The BMJ show.

The internal correspondence reveals that the government is prepared to almost match what it spends on the NHS in England each year (£130bn) to fund mass testing of the population “to support economic activity and a return to normal life” under its ambitious Operation Moonshot programme.

A briefing memo sent to the first minister and cabinet secretaries in Scotland, seen by The BMJ, says that the UK-wide Moonshot programme is expected to “cost over £100bn to deliver.” If achieved, the programme would allow testing of the entire UK population each week.

A separate PowerPoint presentation prepared for the government by the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, also seen by The BMJ, says the plans had the potential to grow the UK’s testing capacity from the current 350 000 a day to up to 10 million tests a day by early 2021.

Operation Moonshot, indeed. What planet are Hancock and Johnson from and how did they reach this one?

Covid tests

The BBC then makes a half statement of fact:

The free tests are available to people with symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, new and continuous cough or a loss or change in sense of taste or smell.

Right. But that’s not all. Free tests are also available for people with no symptoms. As the Government site says:

Covid test rules

But Hancock says:

…in the last couple of weeks we have seen an increase in demand, including an increase in demand for people who are not eligible for tests, and people who don’t have symptoms.”

You don’t need to have symptoms to be eligible for tests. He needs to read this own Government’s website. But still be blathers on:

“We have seen an increase of about 25% of people who are coming forward that don’t have symptoms and aren’t eligible. They don’t have a reason for it. I’ve even heard stories of people saying, ‘I’m going on holiday next week, therefore I’m going to get a test’. No – that is not what the testing system is there for. We’ve got to be firmer, I’m afraid, with the rules around eligibility for testing.”

You want a test to get on with your life but Hancock says you can’t have one because it is inappropriate. It isn’t. It’s spot on. The fault lies entirely with the Government’s lack of preparation.

Posted: 10th, September 2020 | In: News, Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink