Coronavirus: US admits 'failing' on testing, says Fauci
A top health official in the US says that the testing system for coronavirus is currently failing.
"The system is not really geared to what we need right now… let's admit it," said Dr Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The government has come under fire as the US has conducted far fewer tests than many other affected countries.
There are currently more than 1,100 confirmed cases of the virus in the US.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said that the US had "a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested". However, he did not give further details, and there has not been routine testing for the virus in the US.
How many tests are being done in the US?
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence could not confirm how many Americans had been tested for the virus, saying he "would leave that to the experts".
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of at least 11,079 people in the US have been tested since January. However, government officials say they do not know the whole number, because some tests are being conducted by private hospitals and laboratories that have not been reporting in to the CDC.
By contrast, South Korea has tested more than 210,000 people and is testing nearly 20,000 people every day, while in the UK, more than 29,700 people have been tested, and more than 1,000 tests are being carried out per day.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced sweeping travel restrictions on 26 European countries – but was criticised by Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for not addressing the lack of sufficient coronavirus testing kits.
Republican lawmakers have also expressed frustration, with one senator, James Lankford saying: "We've got a long way to go to be able to get rapid, efficient testing."