The director of NHS Test and Trace has issued an apology amid reports that people cannot get tested for coronavirus, or are being asked to drive hundreds of miles for a test.
The government’s coronavirus test booking website advises there are currently no home tests available, while residents in the north west of England are being told to drive to London for a test.
‘All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, it’s our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point.
‘We are doing all we can to expand quickly.’
This morning (September 8), the cabinet minister appeared in front of the Health and Social Care Committee and announced he had witnessed the first ‘credible instances’ of coronavirus reinfections. This comes after the UK recorded nearly 3,000 new cases of the virus over the weekend.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said improvements are being made to the system of allocating regional testing slots to ensure the distance limit does not go beyond 75 miles.
While the booking portal for home tests is paused when there is high demand to ensure a steady flow into laboratories to help prevent backlogs which can lead to void tests or delayed results.
‘NHS Test and Trace is working, our capacity is the highest it has ever been and our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week.
‘We are seeing significant demand for tests but if you have symptoms we urge you to get tested.
‘New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily and you can help protect yourself if you wash your hands, cover your face and make space.
‘We are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, as well as prioritising at-risk groups and we recently announced new laboratory facilities and new technology to process results even faster.’
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