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UK Facing Real Challenges With COVID-19 Testing Capacity, Minister Admits

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantPeople, some wearing masks queue outside a John Lewis store, in London, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Unemployment across the U.K. has held steady during the coronavirus lockdown as a result of a government salary support scheme, but there are clear signals emerging that job losses will skyrocket over coming months
People, some wearing masks queue outside a John Lewis store, in London, Thursday, July 16, 2020. Unemployment across the U.K. has held steady during the coronavirus lockdown as a result of a government salary support scheme, but there are clear signals emerging that job losses will skyrocket over coming months - Sputnik International
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Earlier, London Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered a massive study into the future challenges and opportunities facing the heart of the UK capital as a result of long-term COVID-19 social and economic effects.

The UK is facing real challenges with its coronavirus testing capacity due to wait times in laboratories, Justice Minister Robert Buckland said.

"Laboratory capacity has been an issue, we are working our way through that," minister said. "We're increasing the number of test centres, we've got 400 test centres, getting it up to 500 but clearly there are still real challenges."

Buckland added that Britain would do whatever it takes to get the coronavirus testing system working properly.

"We'll do whatever it takes to make sure we have that capacity. We know where the pressure points are, we are piloting new walk-in test centres. Yes the work is huge but there is a big determination within government and from everyone involved to improve this and minimise disruption", Buckland noted.

Recently, the Times reported that UK ministers were drawing up plans to restrict “frivolous demands” for COVID-19 tests, admitting that they didn’t assume there would be so many people willing to take them.

According to reports, testing centres have had to cut down on appointments; people with COVID-19 symptoms must now wait over five days for tests result.

A further 3,115 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours in the United Kingdom, the Department of Health and Social Care announced.

The government's COVID-19 dashboard shows that the total number of positive cases now stands at 376,670, while the country's death toll has risen by two to 41,753.

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