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Covid-19 Inquiry: UK 'had no tests left' in early days of pandemic which could have seen country locked down 'much later'

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The UK had “no tests left” as global health chiefs encouraged countries to “test, test, test” during the pandemic’s early days, the Covid-19 public inquiry has been told.

And the first lockdown would have come 'much later' if the country had not changed tactics to monitor cases in hospitals instead of in the community in the early stages of the crisis, one of those charged with leading the country's response has said.

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, who was previously deputy chief medical officer and is now chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said remaining tests were given as a priority to hospitals, which picked up more cases than anticipated.

Without this surveillance the UK may have gone into lockdown “much later”, she said. READ MORE: Amber health alert issued for north west England as temperatures set to plunge READ MORE: Today's M.E.N headlines Dame Jenny was quizzed about remarks she made during a Downing Street press conference in March 2020, after a decision was made to cease community testing.

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