Robert Buckland today claimed the Government had to make a decision when it came to prioritising testing.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Appearing on Sky News, Mr Buckland became the first minister to admit a choice was made to focus on the NHS and hospitals.
He explained: “We rightly emphasised the importance of making sure that our NHS services and our hospitals were places that could continue to admit patients and wouldn’t be incubators of the disease.
“We achieved that. We protected our NHS.”
Asked if the decision was bad for care homes he replied: “We needed to make a choice about testing and we did decide to focus upon the NHS.”
The senior minister was being asked about recent figures which showed 40 per cent of all coronavirus deaths were in care homes.
He said: “Clearly there were huge issues and we’ve seen a great tragedy in our care homes which is a matter of huge regret.
"I think every country in the world will look back and say there are things we could have done differently."
Despite the confession, Mr Buckland insisted it was “absolutely essential” that the NHS was put first and foremost at the start of the outbreak.