NHS ramps up coronavirus testing by 500% so 10,000 patients can be tested daily

The NHS is ramping up coronavirus testing by 500% so up to 10,000 patients can be tested a day.

More than 25,000 tests have been carried out by public health officials and the majority of results are analysed within 24 hours.

But the NHS is “scaling up” tests by 500% and officials hope to analyse 10,000 swabs every day of the week, compared to around 1,500 daily tests currently being carried out.

Professor Dame Sue Hill, NHS chief scientific officer, said: “The NHS is ramping up the number of testing centres across the country, to help people get care quickly or have their mind put at ease.”

The NHS is 'scaling up' coronavirus tests. Credit: PA

The increase in tests comes after England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries warned the peak number of coronavirus cases may come within the next fortnight.

Dr Harries said: “We can expect a peak in cases, it has a relatively slow take off at the start, that's where we are at the moment, it will start to rise quite sharply."

The number of UK cases has risen to 382 and the sixth death was confirmed on Tuesday.

The most recent patient death took place on Monday night at Watford General Hospital, part of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Hand sanitiser dispensers at Cheltenham Racecourse. Credit: PA

The patient, who is believed to have contracted the virus in the UK, was in their eighties and had underlying health conditions.

It comes as a 53-year-old British woman was reported to have died from Covid-19 in Indonesia, with the Foreign Office offering support to her family.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is delivering the budget against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis.

The Chancellor acknowledged the British people were worried about the threat posed by the virus "but they are not daunted".

There have been six deaths in the UK from coronavirus. Credit: PA

He announced a series of measures in the Budget to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, including statutory sick pay for “all those who are advised to self-isolate” even if they have not displayed symptoms.

Health Minister Nadine Dorries has become the first MP to contract coronavirus, but there are no plans to test any ministers, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for the disease.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said ministers would not need to undergo testing as Public Health England (PHE) worked to advise those who have been in close contact with Ms Dorries.

Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said she is self-isolating following a meeting with the health minister last Thursday.

Ms Maskell told ITV News she was feeling "absolutely fine" and insisted Parliament should "not shut down" over the virus.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know