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Tuesday, March 31, latest;

Cabinet Minsiter Officer Michael Gove chaired today’s briefing with an update on NHS staff returning to the frontline, the increased rates of testing and the focus on obtaining further equipment.

“More NHS staff are returning to the frontline and more testing is taking place to help those self-isolating come back and to protect those working so hard in our hospitals and in social care.

“But while the rate of testing is increasing we must go further, faster.

“A critical constraint on the ability to rapidly increase testing capacity is the availability of the chemical reagents which are necessary in the testing.

“The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.”

Gove stated that there are ‘just over 8,000 ventilators’ deployed in NHS hospitals currently, with focus on buying more.

“And as well as increasing the number of staff on the frontline, and the tests which protect them, we must also increase the capacity to provide oxygen to those worst affected by the disease.

“We have just over 8,000 ventilators deployed in NHS hospitals now. This number has increased since the epidemic began, thanks to the hard work of NHS professionals.

“But we need more. That is why we are buying more ventilators from abroad – including from EU nations. And it’s also why we are developing new sources of supply at home.”