Picture: Jon Savage

Tory Shadowy Health Secretary, Miles Briggs, asked the above question on Monday 10th August.

Briggs is clearly aware of his own party’s policy in England of counting, double-counting and just bending the rules wherever they can to meet targets for their ‘world-beating’ system. See this:

Tens of thousands of coronavirus tests have been counted twice in the government’s official tally, public health officials have admitted. Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same person are being recorded as two tests, not one, the Department of Health (DoH) and Public Health England (PHE) said.

The double-counting inflates the daily reported numbers by over 20%, though that proportion was higher earlier on in the crisis, before home test kits were added to the daily totals. Almost 350,000 more tests have been reported in government data than people tested since the start of the pandemic, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The government has been widely criticised for lagging behind other countries in terms of capacity to test. Last month it was accused of ‘bending the rules’ by counting thousands of home tests which had been delivered but not taken in its daily totals, in order to reach its target of 100,000 per day.  Shadow health secretary Johnathan Ashworth said: ‘Ministers have already received an embarrassing slap on the wrists for their dodgy spin on testing figures. It seems they haven’t learnt their lesson. We need absolute transparency in the presentation of these figures’.

Mr Johnson promised England would have a ‘world-beating’ tracing system from June after being accused of leaving a ‘huge hole’ in the country’s coronavirus defences by Labour leader Keir Starmer during a tense PMQs on Wednesday.