Speaking at Friday’s daily press briefing, Mr Shapps said the tests on offer will tell if a person currently has the virus – not if they have had it in the past. He advised anyone who has suffered coronavirus symptoms in the past few weeks and who may be curious to know if they had contracted the sickness to avoid being tested.
Mr Shapps said: “It is worth stressing to people when they go to that site that this is a test which will only test if you currently have coronavirus.
“So there’s no point to go on there and test to see if you had it three weeks ago.
“It’s not going to give you the answer to that question.”
He was joined at the presser by deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries.
His comments come as the Government has faced mounting pressure to increase its testing capabilities.
Nations like Germany were carrying out 100,000 tests a day earlier this month at a time when the UK was struggling to hit 10,000 a day.
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“I would say, after the experience today, it looks like the demand is there and if those two things come together of course then we will have that 100,000 tests per day ambition met.”
He added: “We have heard from the devolved administrations who also now want to join in using that online booking system as well.”
Meanwhile, more than 15,000 appointments for tests at drive-through centres were taken quickly, forcing the Department of Health to apologise on Twitter “for any inconvenience”.
Mr Shapps said the website will reopen for bookings later, after it was closed due to “significant demand”.
He insisted the site closed after “the slots for today were taken up”.
And he dismissed the suggestion that the site had crashed.
He said: “There were reports that the website had crashed, which it hadn’t, it was simply that the slots for today were taken up.”