Millions of key workers have failed to secure a home testing kit again today after the UK government website stated ‘none available’ just twenty minutes after the tests were released.
The test site was launched on Friday in an effort to test key workers who are isolating and get them back to work, however it has struggled with high demand selling out within minutes every day.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that 5,000 tests a day would be made available for key workers through the online portal, in an effort to ‘get Britain back on her feet’.
Drive-through COVID-19 test centre for NHS workers at Edinburgh Airport
However in its first day the site saw 46,000 people attempt to secure a test, and again reached capacity for home testing kits within just twenty minutes of opening at 8:00BST today and yesterday.
Regional drive through tests are still available in England but have been booked out for the day in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Drive-through test sites are only accessible to those with cars, and a car registration plate is required to book a slot.
Millions of key workers have failed to secure a home testing kit again today after the UK government website stated ‘none available’ just twenty minutes after the tests were released
The 5,000 tests released daily are only intended for those who have symptoms or who have a member of their household who has displayed symptoms of coronavirus.
Number 10 said the Government is trusting that those applying for tests are key workers, with no eligibility checks in place for online bookings.
The official spokesman said: ‘As with many other aspects of the coronavirus response, we would expect the public to respond in good faith.
‘That is what they have done with other aspects of the scheme, I think we’d expect it to be the same here.’
A new covid-19 test centre in Liverpool, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
A soldier takes a swab from a key worker at a drive-through testing station at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, Friday April 24, 2020
A soldier and medic check paperwork at a drive-through testing station at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, as the UK
Despite tests booking up so quickly, Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer at NHS Digital, said the website had been ‘improved’ before it re-opened on Saturday – adding that an ‘amazing team’ had worked ‘all night’ on it.
‘Home kits all booked by 8:15! I know it’s frustrating but we’re developing more lab, supply and logistics capacity every day,’ he said on Twitter.
‘If we’d waited until we had the full 100k, to launch, no one would have had a test today. More home kits again tomorrow, even more next week.’
Asked whether the Government was confident people would be able to test themselves accurately with a kit sent to their homes, the spokesman added: ‘There are videos available to show people how to do this and people will be given clear instructions.’
Poundstretcher property manager Natalie Orton-Rose was turned away after she arrived at the drive-through centre
Under the scheme, test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48 hours, and within 72 hours of collection of the home delivery tests.
Among those able to book a test on Friday was Poundstretcher property manager Natalie Orton-Rose, from Leicester.
But she revealed she was turned away after she arrived at the drive-through centre.
She told the BBC: ‘I drove an hour from my home in Leicester [to the test centre in Nottingham] and sat waiting for half an hour in the queue only to be told actually they had no more tests left,’ she said.
‘I am absolutely disgusted. It is bad enough that my closest test centre is an hour away but then to waste my time and fuel.’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps apologised after the new government website was closed due to ‘significant demand’.
Mr Shapps told the daily Downing Street coronavirus press conference Friday that reports the website had crashed were not accurate and it was ‘simply that the slots for today were taken up’.
He insisted the government is confident every key worker who needs a test will soon be able to access one as ministers strive to hit a 100,000 daily tests target by the end of April.
‘We know what the capacity is, we don’t quite know how many people would want to be tested because many people working for the NHS for example will have already accessed those tests through their work places,’ he said.
The rush for tests comes as the UK Government insists that the lockdown must continue – as Britons have been tempted back outside to green spaces by days of constant sunshine.
Many police forces across the UK have complained of having to deal with flagrant breaches of the shutdown rules, while traffic data revealed car journeys had crept up by three percentage points this week.
And mobility data released by Apple revealed that in recent days searches for maps for walking or driving hadincreased by eight percentage points.