Coronavirus testing: This is how the UK compares to the rest of the world

Much has been made of the UK’s coronavirus testing capacity (of lack thereof).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged that we will hit 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, after facing stinging criticism from journalists who pointed out we’re lagging behind other countries.


It’s now been roughly three weeks since Hancock made that pledge, and we’re more than half way through April. So how do we now compare to other countries across the globe?

Well, “Our World In Data” has compiled detailed stats on the testing regimes of several countries.

The website emphasises there are differences between how each country measures testing. Some log the number of tests, whereas some log the number of people tested, for example. And it’s worth noting that larger countries face challenges in delivering tests to a greater number of people. But their data gives a rough idea of how the UK is now performing.

As you can see from the graph, the UK still hasn’t managed to catch up its neighbours – in terms of total tests per 1,000 people – despite promising to ramp up our efforts.

Indeed, as of 16th April, just 21,328 had been tested for coronavirus in a single day in the UK, which leaves Hancock with a massive task if he wants to increase tests by another 80,000 by the end of the month.

We’re bungling this pandemic thing pretty badly.


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