“One of the constraints on our capacity to increase testing overall is supply of the specific reagents, the specific chemicals, that are needed in order to make sure that tests are reliable.”

Michael Gove, Coronavirus Press Briefing

March 31, 2020

Facts

Michael Gove, at a coronavirus Press Briefing, said: “One of the constraints on our capacity to increase testing overall is supply of the specific reagents, the specific chemicals, that are needed in order to make sure that tests are reliable.”

However, the Chemical Industries Association contacted its members and said there was no shortage of the relevant reagents. 

Peter Openshaw, a scientist from Imperial College who is advising the government, told BBC Radio: “As far as I know there isn’t a great shortage of supply. So that’s really new to me.” He added: “I suppose it must be true if it was announced in the press conference”.

Verdict

The evidence from the chemical industry and experts suggests that Michael Gove’s claim was misleading. Mr Openshaw was perhaps too trusting about the veracity of government public announcements.

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