LONDON: Coronavirus tests are unavailable in Bolton, Salford, Bradford, Blackburn, Oldham, Preston, Pendle, Rochdale, Tameside or Manchester and people were unable to book tests from the government website which says they are “currently very busy and try again later”, according to LBC. These areas have some of the highest infection rates in the UK, including Bolton, which currently has the highest rate of new infections, according to recent data.
Jim McMahon, the Labour MP for Oldham, said: “We are being left to face it alone, with harsher restrictions almost certainly coming. Three weeks of social lockdown, rocketing infection rates, online booking system completely fallen down, walk-in testing turning people away at the door, including children displaying symptoms.”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth described the situation as “a world beating shambles”, Yahoo has reported.
Meanwhile Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “Completely unacceptable. I spoke personally to the Health Secretary a week ago (as well as writing to him) and told him we needed an urgent and dramatic increase in testing capacity in Bolton. They have failed to deliver on that…”
And Lucy Powell, whose Manchester Central constituency is also under local lockdown, tweeted: “The failure of testing regime not only risks lives, but it significantly undermines trust and confidence in the measures the government are asking of us all. It can’t be beyond government to have anticipated a big rise in demand once schools returned as kids pick up colds etc”
Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, also tweeted that she has had had six parents whose children need COVID tests because they were showing symptoms and won’t be allowed back to school without a negative test result.
Professor Christina Pagel, of University College London, warned that the lack of tests will mean people will not be isolating and spreading the virus further. This is increasingly dangerous. People with Covid but no test confirmation will not necessarily be isolating and their contacts certainly won’t,” she tweeted.