What would the pandemic be without a good old-fashioned Tory numbers controversy?

Well, we’ll never have to know the answer to that question because Matt Hancock has found himself in the centre of a big row over allegedly reaching the government’s testing target of 100,000 a day by the end of April.

So what happened?

Hancock claimed he’d passed the goal at yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing, announcing 122,347 tests were provided in the 24 hours to 9am on 1 May.

But on closer inspection, it seemed like around 40,000 of these tests were simply mailed out to people, and hadn’t yet been returned.

This has led many to accuse the government of “fiddling the figures” or “bending the rules” to meet the target.

Surely, the most accurate method would be simply counting the tests which were returned? And doesn’t this sudden change seem a bit coincidental the day before a testing deadline that the government was widely expected to miss? Also, even if this way of counting the tests is legitimate, it’s only been achieved for one day, once (“a day” is not “per day”...)

Questions, questions, questions...

Yes, it seems like from the makers of “50,000 more nurses” and “FactCheckUK” comes... “120,000 tests carried out”.

How surprising.

People on social media, including journalists from a variety of publications, were quick to point out the problem with the numbers.

Some wondered why the government bothered doing this and made the numbers “the story”, when 80,000 tests is still a lot of tests.

Of course there were lots of jokes too…

But others congratulated Hancock, including former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, former Chancellor George Osborne and the director of the World Health Organisation.

In response, Hancock has denied the process of counting the tests had been changed, saying it was always going to be the case that different types of tests had to be counted differently.

But judging by some of the reactions to his figures, this matter probably isn't going to go away...

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