Covid test chaos should last two weeks, as Sajid Javid warns that the system will be ‘limited’

In a letter to MPs last night, the health minister admitted that “high demand” for lateral flow tests means that “we expect to have to limit the system at certain points over the next two weeks to control supply”

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Covid-19: Sajid Javid confirms no new restrictions before New Year

People face weeks more chaos over Covid test supplies after Sajid Javid warned that the system should be “limited” to and from for fourteen days.

The Tory Health Secretary admitted that there has been “huge demand” for lateral flow tests after Boris Johnson urged people to check their status before Christmas and New Year parties.

Sometimes on Wednesdays, no PCR or lateral flow tests were available to order online – and a pharmacy manager struck with “uneven” deliveries to local chemists.

Now Mr Javid has privately suggested that pattern will continue.

In a letter to all UK MPs last night, he wrote: “We are constantly reviewing the system’s performance and ways to maximize its response to the demand for testing.

“However, given the huge demand for LFDs over the last three weeks, we expect to have to limit the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new supply tranches being released regularly. weekday.”

Sajid Javid, pictured in the center, told MPs: “We expect to have to limit the system at certain points over the next two weeks to control supply”



Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier that “steps were taken to curb demand in England” on Tuesday night.

And a source told the Daily Telegraph: “The demand for PCR testing is still rising. It is at this point now that demand and capacity are on par.

“But we will soon reach the point where people are struggling to get PCR tests near them within 48 hours. And what do we do then?”

At times on Wednesday, there were no PCR or lateral flow tests available to order online



British companies have been asked to increase production of test kits, according to the Telegraph.

A scientific adviser to the government warned that the current bottleneck in deliveries of lateral flow tests was “very worrying”.

Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the Advisory Group (Nervtag) for new and emerging respiratory virus threats, said he was concerned that untested people could interfere with parties.

Peter Openshaw said the lack of lateral flow test supplies was “very worrying”



Prof. Openshaw told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We know the situations in which transmission takes place.

“Fortunately, I do not think we are facing the kind of lockdown that was necessary to cope in the very earliest part of this year.

“But we know that crowding into poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you are shouting over loud music and so on, is absolutely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very, very transmissible virus.”

Javid told MPs that the supply of lateral flow tests will triple in January and February compared to pre-Omicron plans, from 100 million to 300 million a month.

The UK Health Safety Agency has already raised supplies of lateral flow tests from 120 million to “almost 300 million” in December, he added.

Sir. Javid insisted that there was “unprecedented” demand for both lateral flow and PCR testing, which “has inevitably put pressure on the testing system despite the impressive upscaling of supply, logistics and laboratory capacity. Other countries have faced similar challenges . “

Workers are seen boarding the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, popularly known as Eros, in Piccadilly Circus to prevent people from climbing landmarks on New Year’s Eve


Vuk Valcic / SOPA images / REX / Shutterstock)

He also admitted that the Lighthouse Laboratory Network – where a worker told the men that they “can not cope with the number of tests arrived” – has been “affected by staff illness”.

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale spoke to Mr Javid and said: “Saj was very honest with me. He said: ‘Look, there is no quick fix.’

“We are now facing the situation where No. 10 says, ‘Go and get tested,’ and the Ministry of Health says, ‘We do not have the tests, we can not do it.’

“We have created demand in England which we can now not satisfy.”

Sir. Javid told lawmakers there was “particularly high demand” from nursing homes on Wednesday, with 190,000 PCR tests submitted from homes to laboratories for treatment in 24 hours.

He insisted the government “doubles” delivery capacity with Royal Mail to 900,000 PCR and LFT packages a day.

People in England have been advised to take sidestream tests before going to New Year’s parties


Getty Images / iStockphoto)

It came as 183,037 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 24 hours – the highest daily number in the UK ever.

The total number included a five-day backlog from Northern Ireland, but the figure of 138,287 for England was still the highest ever.

Meanwhile, 10,462 beds in English hospitals were occupied with Covid patients at 6 p.m. 8 Wednesday – up 916 the day before and more than 3,000 more than 3,000 since Christmas Day.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “People try to do the right thing, follow the government’s own advice and test themselves regularly, but are prevented by the incompetence of the Conservative government.”

In a statement on Wednesday night, the UK Health Safety Agency said nearly eight million test kits would be made available to pharmacies by New Year’s Eve.

A spokesman for the UKHSA said: “The UK’s testing program is the largest in Europe with almost 400 million tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

“We deliver a record number of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with almost eight million test kits being made available to pharmacies between today and New Year’s Eve.

“We have made 100,000 more PCR bookings available a day since mid-December, and we continue to expand capacity rapidly – with over half a million tests performed on December 23 alone and doubling delivery capacity to 900,000 PCR and LFD test set a day.

“If you have not been able to get the test you need from, keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available each day.”

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