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The UK is developing the ability to manufacture millions of fast turnaround tests for coronavirus that can provide results in just 15 minutes, Boris Johnson said.

Downing Street also announced that additional pilots of the new test technology will begin next week in some of the UK’s worst-affected regions.

Johnson told Friday’s No 10 press conference that work is in progress to make the new test faster, simpler, cheaper, and manufactured and distributed in the UK.

The announcement comes as the Times reports that scientists will be able to conduct a million coronavirus tests a day by Christmas.

The newspaper cited an anonymous chief scientist source who claimed that it seemed perfectly possible for the country to reach that level.

The government has already set a target of 500,000 tests per day by the end of October.

We are currently testing more people than any country in Europe, but we always want to go further, Johnson said on Friday.

Scientists and businesses in the UK and around the world are developing new tests that are faster, simpler and cheaper.

We have already purchased millions of these tests, some of which are very simple. That said, you can get results in less than 15 minutes just by wiping a cotton swab in your mouth.

We have begun building the infrastructure for the domestic manufacturing of these tests so that the UK can produce millions of quick tests here.

In the coming weeks we will be distributing and testing this test nationwide.

(PA graphics)

The government said hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Basingstoke and Southampton will test asymptomatic NHS staff and use the data to support Track and Trace.

This pilot will see individuals taking tests at least weekly.

In addition, attempts of the new side flow test swab test that do not require laboratory processing and can be returned within an hour will be sent to adult social services facilities, schools and universities in the most severely affected areas.

Johnson said Liverpool, Lancashire, and all other regions entering very high alert levels will be prioritized immediately for quick turnaround testing.

The government will also provide tests to local public health officers to control localized outbreaks.

However, Johnson warns that the new technology requires a careful approach.

No country in the world regularly tests millions of people, so you need to take the time to do this effectively and safely and build logistics and distribution operations.

We are unable to take tests to get our business back on track quickly.

Over time, we sadly want to use tests to open up more of a closed economy, but it’s important to make sure such systems are working safely.

It should be fair to you that many organizations will take time to address this issue before they can buy and run these tests themselves.

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