PM defends testing amid ‘colossal spike’ in demand

PM defends testing amid 'colossal spike' in demand

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PA Media

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People for queue for checks at Southampton

Boris Johnson has defended the coronavirus testing system amid ongoing experiences of individuals struggling to get checks and outcomes being delayed.

The prime minister advised MPs there had been a “colossal spike” in demand, however the authorities was “working very fast” to show round check requests.

He additionally stated he was “concerned” about an infection charges in care properties.

It comes as ministers stated a list setting out who will be prioritised for tests will probably be revealed inside days.

As nicely as prioritising checks for the NHS after which social care, faculties would even be thought-about, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland stated.

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

He advised 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 every one in-person check outcomes can be again inside 24 hours by the top of June.

He acknowledged the frustration across the demand for checks, however stated 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 can 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 on account of a member of the family exhibiting signs and awaiting the outcomes of a check, which has since been returned as unfavorable.

She advised 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 stated.

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Deputy Labour chief Angela Rayner was standing in for chief Sir Keir Starmer

Ms Rayner additionally stated 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 stated.

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

Earlier, Mr Buckland advised BBC Breakfast that testing centres can be rising from about 400 to 500 within the subsequent few weeks.

And Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stated every college might, from right this moment, order extra testing kits, having every been given 10 at the beginning 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 test sites hundreds of miles from residence.

The massive 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 stated.

A brand new lab is because of be up and operating however that might be a couple of weeks away – and till then ministers say current problems are likely to continue.

Bolton NHS Trust in Greater Manchester stated that more than 100 people had turned up to 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 out there, however Health Secretary Matt Hancock advised the Commons on Tuesday it was “less than a day’s capacity”. That means it might be anyplace as much as 244,000.

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

What issues are faculties going through?

Some closed for a interval days after reopening whereas others have advised courses and entire 12 months teams – a lot of which type one bubble – to self-isolate for 2 weeks following confirmed instances.

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

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), stated if points with testing capability weren’t fastened holding faculties open would turn into “unsustainable”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson advised 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

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Scott Vining

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Cafe house owners Scott Vining and his spouse fear testing delays imply they should shut their household enterprise

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

“We’ve tried hundreds of times,” he advised the BBC about attempting to e book 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 provided a check in Warwickshire, 65 miles away from his residence, by means of 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 attempting to get checks at a centre in Oldham

How many checks are being carried out?

Around 220,000 checks are processed every day, in accordance with authorities figures for Monday.

The authorities stated 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 information 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 in a position to course of (“capacity”) and the variety of checks truly processed.

Analysis from Our World In Data, a analysis crew 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).

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