A researcher – who was not named – revealed the government is buying new machines which will be able to process 150,000 tests per day. The aim is to treble the current capacity of 300,000.
Trials of pregnancy-style tests are also being separately developed with results within just 15 minutes beginning in norther hotspots as early as next week.
The source said: “It’s going pretty well.
“They have really scaled up their capabilities.
“By Christmas we’ll be at a million a day, I think.
One million tests per day by Christmas
Scientists are looking for a vaccine for COVID-19
“That seems perfectly possible.”
During a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said new tests were “faster, simpler and cheaper”.
He said: “We are now testing more people than any other country in Europe but we always want to go further.
“Scientists and companies in Britain and around the world have been developing new tests which are faster, simpler and cheaper.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
“We’ve already bought millions of these tests, some of which are very simple, meaning you simply need to wipe the swab inside your mouth and can give a result as quickly as in 15 minutes.
“We’ve started building the infrastructure for domestic manufacture of these tests, ensuring that Britain has the ability to produce millions of fast tests here.
“Over the new few weeks we will start distributing and trialling these tests across the country.
“No country in the world is regularly testing millions of people so we need to take the time to establish how to do this effectively and safely and to build the logistics and distributions operation.
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UK coronavirus cases mapped
“We won’t be able to get testing to get business back to normal quickly.
“In time we want to use tests to keep open more parts of the economy that have sadly been closed but it is crucial that we make sure such systems work safely.
“I must level with you that it will take time to get this right before many organisations can buy and operate these tests themselves.”
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson introduced a new tier system with places like Liverpool and Lancashire placed in the highest tier.
Testing kits to be distributed by Christmas
This means people are banned from mixing with other households both indoors and outdoors.
Businesses such as leisure centres and bars have been forced to close again but restaurants and schools can remain open.
Announcing the news measures, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’ve together agreed that London needs to move to local COVID alert level ‘high’.
“Infection rates are on a steep upward path with the number of cases doubling every 10 days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
“The seven-day average case rate stands today at 97 rising sharply.
“We know from the first peak, the infection can spread fast and put huge pressures on the NHS so we must act now to prevent the need for tougher measures later on.
“So working closely with the mayor, with cross-party council leadership, with local public health officials and the national team, we’ve together agreed that London needs to move to local Covid alert level high.”