Piers Morgan accused Matt Hancock of telling an "absolute porky" about the number of people being tested for coronavirus.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Hancock claimed that 226,000 people were tested the previous day and that "over 200,000" people are being tested each day in general.

Morgan's co-host, Susanna Reid, queried the figure on Good Morning Britain today.

We put that to the department of health's press office because we haven't had a daily people testing figure for quite some time. 

The department of health press office has not provided us with a statement, but say that they're "not sure" whether stats are still kept on the actual number of people tested each day. So I'm not sure where Matt Hancock got that stat.

They are trying to clarify the 226,000 figure stated by Matt Hancock in his Marr interview; they think the figure is not so clear cut. 

Morgan then added:

In other words, I reckon he made it up. So, if you were here health secretary – where did you get that figure from? Because only two weeks ago, the average daily number of people being tested was about 82,000. Now we're supposed to believe that suddenly 226,000 people are being tested a day. 

I don't think it is. I think you've told an absolute porky there. So let's get to the truth, shall we? Tell us where that figure came from. 

Daily figures for the number of people being tested for coronavirus have not been published since 21 August. The government does publish data on how many tests are 'processed', however, which currently suggests that around 233,000 tests are deemed positive or negative in laboratories each day.

The total capacity for testing is recorded at just over 253,000 tests per day. But this is not the same as the total number of people actually tested.

Morgan isn't the only one who has questioned the health secretary's statistics.

Hancock's appearance on The Andrew Marr Show proved highly controversial.

The claim that only 82,000 people are being tested each day is based on government statistics on how many new people are being tested each day – i.e. people who are being tested for the first time. The total number of tests carried out each day is likely to be higher.

But the exact figure will remain unknown until Hancock clarifies where he got his information from.

He was accused of "conflating tests processed with people tested".

People praised Morgan for calling Hancock out.

The government's testing system has been described as "collapsing" by deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner. Recently, people seeking tests have been recommended testing centres hundreds of miles away by the government's website, or told that there are simply no tests available.

Meanwhile, the government has promised to deliver 10 million tests a day by early 2021. The likelihood of 'Operation Moonshot' ever becoming a reality has been questioned by several health experts, including the government's own chief scientific adviser.

If Hancock is able to prove that 226,000 people really are being tested each day, we will update you. But even if so, this figure falls far below the actual demand for daily tests and doesn't even begin to answer how they'll manage to deliver 10 million tests a day next year.

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