Reader Comments

Millions of key workers have failed to secure a home testing kit again today after the UK government website stated 'none available' just twenty minutes after the tests were released.  

by Dillon Mcclain (2020-05-29)


The test site was launched on Friday in an effort to test key workers who are isolating and get them back to work, however it has struggled with high demand selling out within minutes every day. 


Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that 5,000 tests a day would be made available for key workers through the online portal, in an effort to 'get Britain back on her feet'.






Drive-through COVID-19 test centre for NHS workers at Edinburgh Airport







RELATED ARTICLES


Previous

1

Next




Couple who drove 300 miles from Kent to Cornwall for a 'mini... Essential workers should be given face masks and public...




Share this article

Share



However in its first day the site saw 46,000 people attempt to secure a test, and again reached capacity for home testing kits within just twenty minutes of opening at 8:00BST today and yesterday.

Regional drive through tests are still available in England but have been booked out for the day in Wales and Northern Ireland.    

Drive-through test sites are only accessible to those with cars, and a car registration plate is required to book a slot gambling machines.    






Millions of key workers have failed to secure a home testing kit again today after the UK government website stated 'none available' just twenty minutes after the tests were released


The 5,000 tests released daily are only intended for those who have symptoms or who have a member of their household who has displayed symptoms of coronavirus. 

Number 10 said the Government is trusting that those applying for tests are key workers, with no eligibility checks in place for online bookings.

The official spokesman said: 'As with many other aspects of the coronavirus response, we would expect the public to respond in good faith.

'That is what they have done with other aspects of the scheme, I think we'd expect it to be the same here.'


















A new covid-19 test centre in Liverpool, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus







A soldier takes a swab from a key worker at a drive-through testing station at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, Friday April 24, 2020







A soldier and medic check paperwork at a drive-through testing station at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, as the UK


Iceland delivery driver Scott B. from Middleton, Greater Manchester, said that he had only been able to secure a drive-in test for him and his wife, who is 'extremely high risk' due to medical conditions, 51 miles from home at Doncaster Airport.

He tweeted: 'Just been online to book a Corona test for me and my wife (my wife is classed as extremely high risk and I'm classed as a key worker ) , the nearest test centre is 51 miles away.....yeah nice one #coronavirustesting #Manchester #NHS.'

Mr B. says he is unable to take the time away from work to make the journey so will not be taking up the offer. 

Another key worker from Manchester, Simon Crowther, was directed to a test site 100 miles away from his home in Penrith, Cumbria. 








Key worker Scott B. said that he had only been able to secure a drive-in test for him and his 'extremely high risk' wife 51 miles from his home


He tweeted: 'Just booked my Covid19 key worker test. I live in Manchester. The test is in Penrith! Oh well at least the M6 should be clear.'

For key workers who are under 18 drive-in testing is only available in London or Belfast.

Will Vernon, who was trying to book a test on behalf of his 17-year-old sister who works at a supermarket said he had been unable to book any test.






Testing options offered to Scott B. who lives in Middleton, Greater Manchester


Mr Vernon tweeted: 'Turns out my 17 year old sister can not get a COVID-19 test despite being a key worker @mrjamesob @Number10press @MattHancock'.      

Despite tests booking up so quickly, Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer at NHS Digital, said the website had been 'improved' before it re-opened on Saturday - adding that an 'amazing team' had worked 'all night' on it.

'Home kits all booked by 8:15! I know it's frustrating but we're developing more lab, supply and logistics capacity every day,' he said on Twitter.

'If we'd waited until we had the full 100k, to launch, no one would have had a test today. More home kits again tomorrow, even more next week.'

Asked whether the Government was confident people would be able to test themselves accurately with a kit sent to their homes, the spokesman added: 'There are videos available to show people how to do this and people will be given clear instructions.'

Under the scheme, test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48 hours, and within 72 hours of collection of the home delivery tests.

However for Mark Conner, a fire safety advisor from Liverpool who manages NHS facilities and care homes, his initial test on Friday was deemed 'not clear' and he now faces a 35 mile drive to Manchester. 

He told the MailOnline: 'I developed symptoms and so I went on the government website in the early hours of Friday morning. I got my booking acceptance message and booked a 2pm appointment 15 miles away at Haydock racecourse, I live in Liverpool.'






Simon Crowther was offered a drive-in test in Penrith, Cumbria, 100 miles from his home in Manchester


After three hours of waiting with the windows up on an 'extremely hot' day to be tested Mr Connor was informed the next day that the results of his test had been unclear.

Describing the experience he said: 'The queues where very long, you are shown information boards to tell you to keep all windows shut bearing in mind it was an extremely hot day. You have your barcode scanned at various points along the route to the test bays.

'The next day I received a text message telling me my result was not clear and giving me the advice to book another test or simply self isolate.






After three hours of waiting with the windows up on an 'extremely hot' day to be tested Mark Connor, from Liverpool, was informed the next day that the results of his test had been unclear


'I tried to book another test over night but all areas except Scotland didn't have availability untill 8am this morning. At 8am this morning availability in England was showing but the nearest test site to Liverpool is now Manchester Airport, 35 miles away.'    

Among those able to book a test on Friday was Poundstretcher property manager Natalie Orton-Rose, from Leicester.

But she revealed she was turned away after she arrived at the drive-through centre.






Will Vernon, who was trying to book a test on behalf of his 17-year-old sister who works at a supermarket said he had been unable to book any test







For key workers who are under 18 drive-in testing is only available in London or Belfast


She told the BBC: 'I drove an hour from my home in Leicester [to the test centre in Nottingham] and sat waiting for half an hour in the queue only to be told actually they had no more tests left,' she said.

'I am absolutely disgusted. It is bad enough that my closest test centre is an hour away but then to waste my time and fuel.'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps apologised after the new government website was closed due to 'significant demand'.






Poundstretcher property manager Natalie Orton-Rose was turned away after she arrived at the drive-through centre


Mr Shapps told the daily Downing Street coronavirus press conference Friday that reports the website had crashed were not accurate and it was 'simply that the slots for today were taken up'.

He insisted the government is confident every key worker who needs a test will soon be able to access one as ministers strive to hit a 100,000 daily tests target by the end of April.

'We know what the capacity is, we don't quite know how many people would want to be tested because many people working for the NHS for example will have already accessed those tests through their work places,' he said.

The rush for tests comes as the UK Government insists that the lockdown must continue - as Britons have been tempted back outside to green spaces by days of constant sunshine. 

Many police forces across the UK have complained of having to deal with flagrant breaches of the shutdown rules, while traffic data revealed car journeys had crept up by three percentage points this week.

And mobility data released by Apple revealed that in recent days searches for maps for walking or driving hadincreased by eight percentage points.