The UK must go “further, faster” to ramp up coronavirus testing capacity, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said.
The government has set a target of carrying out 25,000 tests a day – but that will not be met until the end of April.
Mr Gove said there was a global shortage of the chemicals needed to test patients.
More than 8,000 patients were tested on Monday.
Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Gove said: “More NHS staff are returning to the frontline, and more testing is taking place to help those self-isolating come back, and to protect those working so hard in our hospitals and in social care.
“But while the rate of testing is increasing, we must go further, faster.”
He added that a “critical constraint” on the ability to increase testing capacity was the availability of the chemical reagents.
“We are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds,” he said.