COVID-19: ‘Great concern’ in the midst of a lack of coronavirus tests before New Year’s parties – as the system may need to be ‘further curtailed’ | UK News

Leading scientists have warned that the ongoing shortage of COVID tests across the UK is a “major concern” ahead of New Year’s Eve.

In recent days, there has been widespread lack of lateral flow and PCR tests for delivery on the government portal, with no PCRs available across the UK this morning.

Health Minister Sajid Javid says the government will triple the supply of lateral flow tests to 300 million per year. month before February, but added that as the current shortage continues, “we expect to have to limit the system at certain points over the next two weeks”.

Prof Ravi Gupta, clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, told Sky News that the lack of available tests is “a major concern because of course we already have so many cases that therefore the likelihood of a person being in a social environment on NYE and becoming positive, even though they have potentially tested negative within the last 24 hours, is quite high. “

There were no PCR tests available across the UK on Thursday morning
There were no PCR tests available across the UK on Thursday morning

He added: “Transmissions will be significant and of course the availability of tests … of lateral flow tests … will exacerbate that problem. So I’m personally very worried about what’s going to happen next year.”

His advice to people planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve was to try testing before attending an event, make sure others around them test, wear good quality masks and “keep things as small as possible”.

His warning comes when Health Minister Sajid Javid admitted that there is “unprecedented demand for both PCR and Lateral Flow Device tests”, which “inevitably put pressure on the test system”.

In a letter to MPs, he said: “Given the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to have to limit the system at certain points over the next two weeks to govern supply during each day, with new supply tranches being released regularly during each day. “

He went on to promise that capacity would be increased in the new year, when the government would buy millions more lateral flow tests, bring in new products and accelerate the spread to the public.

“We are also doubling our total delivery capacity with Royal Mail to 900,000 test packages and PCR tests a day. We are tripling the supply of LFDs in January and February from our pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million a month,” he added .

His letter comes when another expert and member of NERVTAG, Professor Peter Openshaw, warned that it is “very worrying” that lack of testing can lead to people interfering over the New Year without knowing if they are contagious .

Prof. Openshaw said parties are “perfect” for spreading coronavirus, and he told Radio 4’s Today program: “We know that crowding together in poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you shout over loud music and so on, is completely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very transmissible virus. “

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, said the Omicron variant is still “spreading like wildfire” and causing “massive problems” for doctors’ surgeries.

He told Times Radio that GPs are seeing an increasing number of patients with COVID-19 and an increasing number of staff having to isolate themselves.

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