UK government removes 1.3 million coronavirus tests from tally

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Aug 14, 2020, 11:10 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in UK Photograph:( Reuters )

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The British government has now announced that the number was reduced after a double counting was spotted in the number of dispatched tests

More than 1.3 million coronavirus tests were dropped from the tally of coronavirus tests in the United Kingdom, which was spotted by various health experts.

However, the British government has now announced that the number was reduced after a double counting was spotted in the number of dispatched tests.

“An adjustment of -1,308,071 has been made to the historic data for the ‘tests made available’ metric. The adjustments have been made as a result of more accurate data collection and reporting processes recently being adopted within pillar 2,” read an update on the website.

Also read: UK imposes 14-day quarantine on people travelling from France

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said there had been “a double-counting of test kits that had been dispatched” between May 14 and August 12 “which had not been removed from the lab’s processed data”.

The fault was spotted after it was discovered that fewer in-person pillar 2 tests had been carried out than originally reported, while more tests had been sent to NHS trusts and care homes. DHSC claimed that the error was spotted on July 6 but the tests were removed from August 12 data.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “In July we became aware of an overcounting issue which we publicly and transparently acknowledged and have since sought to clarify these figures subsequently.

“This does not change the fact that we have rapidly built, from scratch, the largest diagnostic testing industry in British history, with over 13 million tests delivered, and capacity to test 300,000 every day.”

Pillar 2 tests involve all testing done outside hospitals through commercial companies. For example, swab tests carried out at satellite testing centres, such as care homes, and home swab testing kits delivered by post.

However, this raised concerns amid citizens and experts who believe the data can be 'shambolic'. Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, said, “To now retrospectively adjust the testing figures by 1.3m overnight – without explanation – is the latest in a long line of chaotic failings by the government on testing.”

“How can we be confident that testing and tracing is working properly when basic data on the number of tests is obviously so flawed? Ministers need to get a grip of this as a matter of urgency,” he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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