Baroness Harding on requests for coronavirus test

Grant Boone
September 18, 2020

If you don't have symptoms but think, or have been told by NHS Test and Trace, that you have been in contact with someone with the virus, please stay at home but do not book a test.

This came as Leeds sources said It is expected to be the latest city to face enhanced lockdown measuresThis brings the number of people under restrictions to more than 10 million, including almost 2 million in the north-east of England.

"We have made a conscious decision to extend the breakthrough times as the demand has increased to process more tests in the last two weeks", he revealed.

Only 1.9% of people using a home test kit in England got their results within 24 hours of the week through September 9, according to official figures - the lowest percentage since the test and tracking was launched in May.

Only 14.3% of test results from all sites were received within 24 hours, compared to 32% the previous week.

MPs have been told that coronavirus tests are now having to be prioritised, while the government has also hinted at a possible future further rationing of tests.

Baroness Harding told the hearing that the number of people calling 119 - the NHS Test and Trace number - and visiting the website would be "three to four times the number of tests we now have available". Harding's promised numbers will now be published daily.

Munira Wilson said people in her Twickenham constituency in south west London had "been advised that if they put an Aberdeen postcode into the system they can get a test in Twickenham". "I fully understand why people are so anxious and afraid", she added.

By contrast, for cases handled either online or by call centres, 63.7% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

She continued: "It's utterly ludicrous that you have to game the system in this way in order to get a test, and clearly it needs to be fixed, whether it's a computer glitch or capacity in the labs. More tests should be available later". "Tests are available even though it's a challenge to get hold of them".

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The Ministry of Health was contacted for comment.

The UK's demand for coronavirus tests is "multiples" of the country's current capacity, Chair of NHS Test and Trace Baroness Dido Harding has said. Which has her husband who lives with her.

Asked if she felt guilty, she said: "No".

"We have seen a sharp rise in people coming forward for a test, including those who are not eligible", Mr Hancock said. He took one of them's phone number, and agreed to the names and addresses for the rest.

"I hope we need more as we go beyond the end of October", he said.

"The situation is simply not sustainable". I'm keeping my family safe and keeping everyone else safe. "The emergency financing package for local outbreak prevention and management is urgent now - we need more people in our places and money in our councils to get the work done".

Our North of England correspondent Clare Fallon reports.

Attempts by Reuters reporters to get a COVID-19 test on Tuesday were greeted with a notice on the government's website saying: "This service is now very busy".

"It has become not so much Test and Trace, more like trace a test", Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said in parliament. Test and traceability, such as traceability.

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