The independent London newspaper

Ministers must get a grip on test and trace

24 September, 2020

Near impossible to get a Covid-19 coronavirus test

• OVER the past few weeks I have received email after email from constituents who have found it near impossible to get a Covid-19 coronavirus test.

Having spent the summer urging anyone with symptoms to get a test, and reassuring them about testing capacity, ministers are now presiding over a system which tells people to travel hundreds of miles to get tested and makes them wait many days for the results.

Essential workers like teachers and childcare workers were promised priority access to tests, yet even they can’t get them – making it extremely difficult for schools and nurseries to stay open.

Everyone knew demand for tests would rise as children returned to school and started picking up coughs and fevers. Everyone, it seems, except the government’s test and trace service, which admitted that it had neither anticipated nor planned for this rise in demand.

The sad result is that children who needn’t miss school are being forced to stay at home. People are having to stay away from work unnecessarily.

A functioning test and trace service is absolutely critical to keep Covid-19 under control, and the recent spike in infections is directly linked to the government’s failure to put this in place. Ministers need to get a grip and sort this out right now.

Labour, Hampstead & Kilburn


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