Government website is telling people there are 'no coronavirus tests available right now'

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY JULY 1 File photo dated 28/3/2020 of an NHS worker being tested for coronavirus at a temporary testing station in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington, Greater London. Wednesday marks 100 days since first full day of UK lockdown and six months since China alerted WHO to Wuhan cases.
A Labour MP has hit out after her constituents struggled to get COVID tests. (PA)

A Labour MP has branded test and trace a “shambles” after saying her constituents were having difficulty accessing coronavirus tests.

Helen Hayes, who represents Dulwich and West Norwood, said on Twitter that people were reportedly struggling to access both test appointments and home test kits, and called for constituents to contact her to help “build up a picture of extent of issues locally”.

Her comments came after she was tweeted by a Twitter user who said the government website was saying no home tests were available.

Read more: Concern as coronavirus tests 'rationed' to focus on local lockdown areas

It is not clear if the issues experienced in the area are affecting other places too.

The Department of Health and Social Care told Yahoo News UK it had not run out of tests but that it could “pause the booking portal for short periods” during periods of high demand.

Test and trace is seen as key to keeping coronavirus cases under control, allowing officials to understand where problematic areas are and get affected people to isolate at home.

Twitter user Amelia Torode posted screenshots of the government’s testing website including one saying there “are no more home tests available” and to try again later.

Another screenshot shows a message saying no drive-through test sites or walk-in sites were available either.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said a pupil in his constituency had been directed to get a drive-through test in Inverness, which he described as “bonkers”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are being tested every day and new booking slots and home testing kits are being made available daily.

“There is a high demand for tests and to help stop the spread of the virus 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.

Read more: Schools close after teachers test positive for coronavirus days after reopening

“We have the capacity to test for coronavirus at an unprecedented scale. We are expanding capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, increasing the number of testing sites and bringing in new technology to process results faster.”

In a statement, the spokesperson added: “We have not run out of tests. For home testing when there’s high demand we pause the booking portal for short periods.”

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