Matt Hancock has placed a £100 bet on whether his target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day will be hit by the end of the month.
Appearing on Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show on Tuesday morning, the health secretary was grilled about his pledge to ramp up tests for the virus, despite just 37,024 tests being carried out on Sunday.
With just two days left to fulfil his pledge, Mr Hancock insisted see his pledge through, but warned it was still a “big, big task”.
“The plan was always to have a big ramp-up at the end of April because I spent April putting in place the systems to take this from an individual lab-by-lab process hand-done to an essentially automated process with an automatic application online,” he said.
“Since that went live at the end of last week we have seen a very rapid rise.
“The information is that 37,000 was the number done on Sunday and there’s a plan to ramp it up all week.
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He added: "We're still on track but it's a big, big task. There's a lot of things that we need to get right so there's no guarantees in this life but we still are on track."
Asked whether he would be prepared to place a £100 bet with host Nick Ferrari on whether the target would be hit, Mr Hancock joked: “I think I’ve got enough riding on this already Nick.
He eventually agreed to the wager, with the LBC presenter promising to give the money to Hospice UK if the target isn’t met by 1 May.
Earlier in the interview, the health secretary said he does not think the British public are experiencing "lockdown fatigue" and denied there was a significant appetite for an exit route among the public.
"If you look at surveys of the public, if you talk to members of the public, if you look at how much the public are following the measures, the public are following the lockdown brilliantly," he added.
"There's a media debate about it and I understand that.
"But actually the proportion of the public who support the lockdown remains absolutely solid.
"The number of people who are following the rules remains incredibly high. The number of people who are taking journeys, for instance, has barely changed on three weeks ago."
However, he said there are also "clear consequences of the lockdown".
"There are social consequences, there's economic consequences, and for some people, especially the shielded, there are health consequences, and we've got to take those into account too."