Below is the text of the statement made by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the House of Commons on 5 May 2020.
We have flattened the curve of this epidemic, ensured that the NHS is not overwhelmed and expanded testing capacity to over 100,000 tests a day. As a Government, we are working resolutely to defeat the coronavirus, and there are two important areas where I want to update the House today.
First, on the expansion of our work to test, track and trace, we have now built a national testing infrastructure of scale, and because we have this extra capacity, we will be delivering up to 30,000 tests a day to residents and staff in elderly care homes, making sure that symptomatic and asymptomatic staff and residents can all be tested. Our care system represents the best of us, supporting our loved ones with tenderness and dedication at their time of greatest need. Through this unprecedented expansion of testing, we can give them the certainty and confidence that high-quality testing can provide.
Secondly, we are working to build the resilience of the NHS. We currently have 3,387 spare critical care beds in the NHS and that does not include the capacity provided by our Nightingale hospitals, including the 460-bed Sunderland Nightingale, which opened earlier today. We should all be very proud that we built up the NHS so fast and that our collective national effort has helped to protect the NHS and flatten the curve. As a result, we are now able to start to restore some NHS services and we are in a position to be able to place the London Nightingale on stand-by. This is good news, because our NHS has not been overwhelmed by this crisis and remains open to those who need care, and that means that this nation’s shared sacrifice is having an impact.
Throughout its time, this Chamber has borne witness to so much, and it has borne witness to the nation’s resolve once more. I am delighted that the British people are well and truly rising to this incredibly difficult challenge.