JUST 2,000 of the NHS's 550,000 staff have been tested for coronavirus – as thousands are left in isolation unable to join the frontline.
Today it was revealed a fraction of Britain's vital footsoldiers have been checked for the killer bug, with Boris Johnson admitting numbers need to be ramped up.
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Thousands of doctors, GPs, nurses and paramedics are stuck in quarantine because they, or someone at home home, has symptoms.
Around 85 per cent could return to work if they knew they weren't carrying the virus.
Today a drive-thru testing centre for hero NHS workers at IKEA was hit by chaos with huge queues and staff turned away.
Hundreds of drivers desperate to get back to work could be seen waiting at the store in Wembley, North West London.
It comes as the UK coronavirus death rate shot up by another 50 per cent today – after 563 people died in a single day.
The total number of patients who have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus has gone up from 1,789 to 2,352.
Downing Street said today more than 2,000 NHS staff – out of 550,000 – have been tested for coronavirus, as the Government faces intense scrutiny over its policy on testing.
The PM said: "We're also massively increasing testing, and I want to say a special word about testing because it is so important, as I have said for weeks and weeks this is the way through, this is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle, this is how we will defeat it in the end.
"What we need to do is massively ramp up not just tests so that you can know whether you've had the disease in the past.
"Second people need to know whether they haven't got it, people isolating at homes for no reason, that's very important for our NHS staff."
UCL Professor Anthony Costello, a specialist in global health, said the Government should have ramped up testing earlier to quickly suppress transmission of the deadly bug.
He said Brits will be able to stop self-isolating sooner and get the economy back on track if the government step up the amount of testing.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England (PHE), told the Number 10 daily press briefing that 10,000 tests per day were now being carried out and the aim was to get to 25,000 tests by mid-April.
PHE has also come under fire over wider testing of members of the public with Covid-19.
It has said repeatedly that most adults who develop symptoms will fully recover and do not need to be tested.
However, many scientists disagree and say it is only through widespread community testing that the UK will be able to track the virus and emerge from lockdown.
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Prof Doyle said: "In terms of mass testing, the testing strategy is to increase the amount of testing done not just in healthcare workers but in the population.
"The rate-limiting step there is not us, it is really whether the tests are valid and then to get that out and about, and aided by technology.
"I think that will change as the phases of this epidemic change. We will perhaps use different techniques."
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