Coronavirus: PM blames ‘colossal spike’ in demand for check issues

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People for queue for tests at Southampton Image copyright PA Media
Image caption People queue for checks in Southampton

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the coronavirus testing system, saying it’s making an attempt to fulfill a “colossal spike” in demand.

It comes as the federal government mentioned it was drawing up an inventory setting out who might be prioritised for checks.

Care home residents and workers are more likely to be near the highest of the record, as Mr Johnson acknowledged ministers have been involved about an infection charges.

The PM informed MPs a brand new “action plan” for care properties might be launched this week.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland mentioned faculties could possibly be thought of for precedence testing.

Mr Johnson mentioned 89% of those that have in-person checks get them the subsequent day.

He informed Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “I think most people looking at the record of this country in delivering tests across this nation will see that it actually compares extremely well with any other European country.”

The PM had promised that each one in-person check outcomes could be again inside 24 hours by the top of June.

He acknowledged the frustration across the demand for checks, however mentioned capability was being elevated, with the federal government wanting 500,000 checks a day by the top of October.

Mr Johnson admitted “we are concerned about the rates of infection in care homes” and promised a brand new motion plan for the sector could be launched this week.

Labour’s deputy chief, Angela Rayner, was standing in for Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs as Sir Keir was self-isolating resulting from a member of the family exhibiting signs and awaiting the outcomes of a check, which has since been returned as unfavourable.

She informed MPs Mr Johnson wanted to “get some skates on” to handle the problems.

“Those care workers are still not getting the PPE they need, they’re still not getting the testing they need,” she mentioned.

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Media captionAngela Rayner accuses the PM of blaming others for his “incompetence” with “no plan” for a second coronavirus wave

Ms Rayner additionally mentioned the prime minister had “time and again” made pledges on testing, however “then breaks those promises”.

“They’ve had six months to get this right and yet the prime minister still can’t deliver on his promises,” she mentioned.

“The health secretary said yesterday it would take weeks to sort this situation out. We don’t have weeks.”

Earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland informed BBC Breakfast that plans to place the NHS prime of the record for coronavirus checks might be printed within the coming days.

People in care properties would even be a precedence, whereas faculties could possibly be thought of, Robert Buckland mentioned.

He additionally mentioned testing centres could be growing from about 400 to 500 within the subsequent few weeks.

Elsewhere, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson mentioned every faculty may, from as we speak, order extra testing kits, having every been given 10 at first of time period.

What is inflicting the delay?

A surge in demand for coronavirus checks has led to native shortages, with many individuals reporting issues securing on-line bookings and being directed to check websites a whole bunch of miles from home.

The giant Lighthouse laboratories, run by the federal government to analyse check swabs from all of the UK nations, have been underneath pressure to course of all of them.

Test slots are restricted as a result of, whereas there appear to be sufficient testing websites, there are bottlenecks in labs for processing swabs, BBC well being editor Hugh Pym mentioned.

A brand new lab is because of be up and operating however that could possibly be a couple of weeks away – and till then ministers say present issues are more likely to proceed.

Bolton NHS Trust in Greater Manchester mentioned that greater than 100 individuals had turned as much as accident and emergency on Tuesday asking for a check.

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Media captionMatt Hancock: “We’re working around the clock to make sure everyone who needs a test can get a test”

Data on backlogs in labs is just not publicly obtainable, however Health Secretary Matt Hancock informed the Commons on Tuesday it was “less than a day’s capacity”. That means it could possibly be wherever as much as 244,000.

The Department of Health has mentioned a few quarter of individuals requesting checks haven’t any want to take action – and solely these with related signs ought to ebook.

What issues are faculties dealing with?

Some closed for a interval days after reopening whereas others have informed lessons and entire 12 months teams – lots of which kind one bubble – to self-isolate for 2 weeks following confirmed instances.

Teaching unions have known as for the schooling sector to be prioritised for the allocation of checks to make sure faculties stay open.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), mentioned if points with testing capability weren’t mounted preserving faculties open would change into “unsustainable”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson informed MPs on Wednesday he had emphasised the significance of prioritising faculties to Baroness Harding, head of the UK testing system.

The individuals struggling to get a check

Image copyright Scott Vining
Image caption Cafe homeowners Scott Vining and his spouse fear testing delays imply they should shut their household enterprise

Scott Vining’s daughter fell in poor health with a temperature on Saturday. By Sunday, the remainder of the household, who dwell near Dunstable, in Bedfordshire, had additionally developed signs.

“We’ve tried hundreds of times,” he informed the BBC about making an attempt to ebook a check. “We started to try and book tests for my daughter on Sunday, to no avail, and then we started at 08:00 on Monday morning for us all.”

At one level Scott was supplied a check in Warwickshire, 65 miles away from his home, via the federal government web site. But by the point he’d entered the small print of his household of 4, the areas had disappeared.

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Media captionThe BBC spoke to individuals making an attempt to get checks at a centre in Oldham

How many checks are being carried out?

Around 220,000 checks are processed every day, in response to authorities figures for Monday.

The authorities mentioned its UK laboratory each day testing capability was greater than 370,000 as of final week – which incorporates antibody checks and people checks utilized by scientists to estimate how widespread the virus is.

Testing capability (excluding antibody checks and virus unfold testing) is about 245,000 a day.

Government knowledge exhibits that each testing capability and laboratory capability have elevated significantly for the reason that starting of the pandemic, The purpose is to extend capability to 500,000 a day by the top of October.

However, there was a sizeable hole between what number of checks labs are capable of course of (“capacity”) and the variety of checks really processed.

Analysis from Our World In Data, a analysis staff primarily based on the University of Oxford, suggests the UK is now performing extra checks than many different nations.

For instance, the seven-day common up till 10 September confirmed the UK had carried out 2.Eight checks per 1,000 individuals. This was forward of European nations together with France (2.1) and Spain and Germany (each 1.8).

Have you had issues getting a coronavirus check? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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