The British government has once again revised down figures relating to the coronavirus crisis, this time removing some 1.3m coronavirus tests from official data citing apparent “double-counting.”
In a coronavirus update issued on Wednesday, the UK government not only lowered the “tests made available” figure but discontinued the metric altogether, adding further confusion to an already questionable testing system. It marks the latest in a long line of high profile and embarrassing gaffes throughout the country’s coronavirus response.
“An adjustment of -1,308,071 has been made to the historic data for the ‘tests made available’ metric,” the report reads, highlighting instances of “double-counting” of test kits issued between May 14 and August 12.
The problem was first acknowledged on July 6 but the incorrect data was only removed on August 12 and comes in parallel to recent downward revisions of covid-19 death tolls recorded in England and Wales.
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The 1.3 million figure covers in-person tests conducted outside of hospitals through commercial companies, including but not limited to swab tests performed in care homes and self-administered home test kits sent via mail.
Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders described the UK’s testing data as “shambolic,” adding that Wednesday’s move was “the latest in a long line of chaotic failings by the government on testing.”
The Government can’t even count the number of tests correctly. Basic test of competence failed yet again.https://t.co/1mJdSgftkz
— Justin Madders MP (@justinmadders) August 14, 2020
“They really are the most useless and corrupt Government I’ve ever seen,” said video game designer Mike Dailly. Others questioned whether the UK had ever had a more “dangerously incompetent” government in its history.
Television host and social commentator Piers Morgan was more succinct in expressing his dismay at the situation.
Sorry, WHAT? https://t.co/XhzeBCyPde
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 14, 2020
Others opted for a rather damning list format to lay bare the repeated failures throughout the pandemic crisis in the UK.
TEST AND TRACE LATEST
❌ Centralised system abandoned
❌ App abandoned
❌ Number of people tested hidden because so low
❌ 750,000 test kits withdrawn
❌ Millions spaffed on incompétent private firms
❌ 1.3m tests double-counted
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) August 14, 2020
Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Matt Hancock has yet to comment on the latest revision of coronavirus test figures.
The damning news comes amid additional reports of no confidence among NHS Trust leaders, in the UK government’s testing strategy.
Just one in five of England’s most senior public health officials have faith in government according to a recent survey by NHS Providers, which represents hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services.
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