The demand for coronavirus tests is up to four times more than the capacity, according to the head of the NHS Test and Trace programme, Dido Harding. People are attempting to get a test via phone call, but simply not getting through. And on the off chance that they do get through, available test centres are sometimes hundreds of miles away.
Once a test is completed, the alleged Government target for the results is 24 hours. Yet figures show that from 2-9 September, only 14% of tests were returned in that time frame.
The main drive-through testing site in Sheffield is at Meadowhall. On multiple occasions, they have reached their maximum capacity to complete tests and even had computing faults. As a result, staff have had to turn people away from the testing site. The Government’s inability to bolster these testing sites with the equipment they need is leaving people confused, uncertain and without the all-important test they need.
Matt Hancock has argued that those without symptoms requesting coronavirus tests have caused the increase in demand, in what our government has declared time and time again is a “world-beating” system. Though after he told people to get tested no matter what, this angle of blame from the Health Secretary has injected more confusion.
Mass testing is under par because the push to return to some kind of normality in order to boost the economy has led to a huge demand for tests. Those with symptoms after coming into contact with others at school, work, and university are all in need of testing and it isn’t good enough that the tests aren’t readily available.
Our testing system should be able to match the plans for our economy that the government ensues, the fact it is failing to do that highlights another (all too familiar) failure to prepare.
There was to be an inevitable resurgence of cases as restrictions lifted for the workplace, children headed back to school and students returned to university. This was an instance that should have been foreseen, and a nationwide ability to test, track, and trace in accordance with this attempt to go back to normal should have been installed.
Image Credit: Governor Tom Wolf