LATERAL flow tests are no longer available today and there are very few PCR tests available at open sites.
New Year’s celebrations are fast approaching and Britons looking to see 2022 a smashing success have been urged to take the test before meeting loved ones.
Pharmacies are also struggling with supply and No 10 last night confirmed that despite the shortage in testing, Britons should still go out and have fun, but should be ‘cautious’ if they cannot get it under control check.
One of the best ways to protect people is to get tested to avoid the spread of the Omicron variant, which most people experience cold-like symptoms.
Omicron is currently responsible for 90% of cases in the UK and was taken over from the Delta variant.
Health officials have repeatedly said the Covid booster shots protect against Omicron and offer the best chance of weathering the pandemic.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping to get vital additional vaccines in the UK’s arms to avoid the need for any new restrictions.
An announcement on the government website this morning states that there are no lateral flow tests available for delivery slots.
More shipments were available around 1pm, but they sold out within minutes on the Government website.
But some people got lucky after many attempts to order home kits.
One person tweeted: “Just managed to order some side-streaming tests after refreshing the site all morning, so it’s worth keeping trying.”
Normally Britons would be directed to pharmacies, but those trying to access them at their local websites were in many cases turned away, even if they had a reservation code.
Many were forced to put up signs letting customers know they were empty.
If you are trying to do a PCR test, there are no addresses available for home delivery and very few locations available across the UK.
None are available in the East Midlands, North East and West Midlands while the rest of England have very few.
But they are available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In Lincolnshire, it was reported that NHS staff were among those denied a PCR test at centres, with one source saying they were asked to turn away anyone who did not have a reservation.
Speaking to Lincolnshire Live, the source said: “We’ve been told to turn anyone away without a reservation even when it’s quiet and despite the government website being constantly down.
“We are turning away people who are frontline NHS doctors and nurses, police and firefighters. We are also turning away people with indications for surgery who need a negative PCR test.
“No exceptions is what we were told, regardless of the reason. Estimates vary every day, though easily around 200 a few days ago.”
The rush for lateral flow tests may be due to NYE celebrations and a change in isolation rules.
The change in rules means those who test negative on Friday and Saturday while in isolation can be released – meaning many Britons who have missed Christmas, could celebrate the New Year.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the country was being hit by shortages and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said we should be ‘reasonable’ when it comes to celebrations.
“Everybody should enjoy the New Year but in a prudent and sensible manner. Check, ventilate, think of others but above all be enhanced,” he said.
The Prime Minister reiterated the findings from various studies that have shown that Omicron is a milder disease.
A No 10 spokesman said that checking in is not a mandatory requirement to go out this New Year.
They said Time: “People should be cautious, and testing is one of the palliative measures,.
“The government doesn’t tell people they shouldn’t go out. It’s about personal responsibility. But of course everyone should take the test if possible.”
Professor Peter Openshaw, of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said the conditions at the New Year’s Eve gathering were “perfect” for the spread of the coronavirus.
Experts today say the lack of tests is problematic.
“I think that’s really worrying,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We know the situations where transmissions occur and fortunately I don’t think we’re facing the kind of lockdown needed to deal with as early as this year.
“But we do know that cramming together in poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you’re shouting over loud music etc., is absolutely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very contagious virus. “
The UK’s Health Security Authority (UKHSA) is in charge of testing and has carried out more than 400 million tests since the start of the pandemic.
Responding to the shortages yesterday, a spokesperson said: “We are delivering record numbers of lateral flow tests to pharmacies nationwide, with nearly 8 million test kits available. Test is available to pharmacies from today until New Year’s Eve.
“We’ve delivered 100,000 more PCR seats per day since mid-December, and we’re continuing to rapidly expand capacity – with over half a million tests conducted on December 23rd alone and capacity distribution doubled to 900,000 PCR and LFD test kits per day.
“If you can’t pass the test you need gov.uk, keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests are available. ”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/4363012/lateral-flows-run-out-pcrs-nye-build-up/ Lateral flow gradually dries up and ‘very little’ PCR remaining in NYE accumulates