Britain has sent coronavirus tests to the US for processing due to “operational issues” in the UK, Sky News quoted a spokeswoman for the British Department of Health and Social Care as saying in an interview on Sunday.
She said that the decision was in sync with the "contingencies" to grapple with testing-related "problems", adding that "the expansion of the UK's coronavirus testing network has involved setting up an entirely new 'Lighthouse' lab network to process test swabs".
"When problems arise, we have contingencies in place which include creating extra temporary capacity for our labs or sending swabs abroad to partner labs for completion. Of course, our partner labs must match our high standards", the spokeswoman pointed out.
She spoke after the newspaper The Sunday Telegraph reported that about 50,000 test samples had been delivered on chartered flights to the US.
Johnson Pledges UK to Carry Out 200,000 Daily Corona Tests
The developments followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowing earlier this week that the UK will conduct at least 200,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of May and “then go even higher”.
He underlined that "a fantastic testing regime is going to be absolutely critical to our long-term economic recovery".
The UK government, however, has yet to deliver on Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s previous pledge that the country will conduct at least 100,000 daily COVID-19 tests.
The Department of Health’s latest estimates indicate that there have been a total of 1,728,443 tests in Britain, including 96,878 on 8 May.