Matt Hancock has said coronavirus testing will be made available across the population “as soon as possible”, but refused to put a date on the roll out.
Asked by talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer whether it was a matter of days or weeks, the Health Secretary said it was “somewhere in-between the two.”
“We are working incredibly hard to get this as fast as we possibly can, of course I understand how important this is.”
Meanwhile, it appears home-testing kits that show whether or not you have ever carried the virus may be arriving sooner.
Mr Hancock said the government had been buying the “highly technical” antibody test over the weekend and will roll them out “as soon as we can”.
“We’ve got to get them here first, into the country, I also want UK producers to turn their talents to this,” he said.
WATCH: Mr Hancock tells NHS staff he is 'committed' to keeping them safe
The Cabinet minister also insisted that the the government was “absolutely” taking a scientific approach to tackling Covid-19, which has so far killed 281 people in the UK.
He said following the science was “the whole basis of our approach”, saying the decision-making process was “very collegiate, everybody working together”.
It followed stark warnings from Boris Johnson that further draconian measures will be taken if the public do not follow the advice that has already been issued.
Mr Hancock echoed the Prime Minister and said: “My job as Health Secretary is to protect life and to keep people safe and to do that, if we need to take further action then we will.”
He concluded by paying tribute to NHS workers who have been fighting the virus on the frontline.
“My message to everybody in the NHS family, all colleagues, any job in the NHS is that we are grateful.
“The whole country is grateful because the whole country needs the NHS right now and you are doing the most important work in this country that there is which is to keep us safe.
“So it’s a great big thank you and also a commitment that I will do everything that I can to keep you safe and make sure you have the equipment that you need.”
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