Millions of Britons told to use daily lateral flow tests to slow the spread of Omicron from today still can’t get them online for the second day running with Amazon now brought in to bail out Royal Mail in the run up to Christmas.
Plan B by the Government relies upon regular and rapid testing in order to avoid mandatory quarantine. Critics fear that a dearth of these tests may lead to additional restrictions, or even a lockdown after Christmas.
People with double jabs who were identified in England as contacts of Covid-19 had to be given a rapid screening test every day for the next seven days. For ten days, unvaccinated persons must be self-isolated.
As the rules became clearer, users who tried to log on to obtain seven test packs were informed that there weren’t any rapid lateral flow testing available for home delivery today before 7am.
Britons have been urged to go to their local pharmacies and pick up the kits in person. However, many stores are also running out. There were no issues with the availability and use of PCR home testing kits.
As a key plank in the Government’s covid prevention plan failed for the second day, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab insisted the issue with ordering lateral flows from the Government website is not due to a lack of the tests.
The UK has no home lateral flow test available. Any supply will not be made before 7am today, at the same time as the Government telling many people to use them daily.
Many people, including ex-Lib Dem MP Steve Webb have voiced concern about the inability to access tests
BBC Breakfast: He said that the issue is not supply and quantity, but the distribution and allocation, and delivery of the information.
“We are aware that there have been some issues yesterday with the online system. This is partly due to how much they get each day.
“We are making sure people can order them and purchase them however they wish. We’re increasing not only the production capacity, but also the distribution and delivery capabilities.
New delivery arrangements have been agreed for rapid coronavirus tests after orders on the Government website were temporarily suspended amid high demand, with Amazon being brought in
Sajid Javid (Health Secretary) insists that such tests are available in abundance and says the problem is delivery.
He stated to Parliament that he reached agreements with Amazon, among others, in order to fix the problem.
A day before new regulations were introduced, which will require all positive cases in England to undergo daily lateral flow testing for one week, the Government website offered the option to order the kits. It advised that people ‘try again later or make an appointment to test at the coronavirus site.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), stated that the temporary pause in availability is temporary. It encourages people to visit the website again starting on Tuesday.
Javid stated to the Commons, ‘I can assure this House that the UK has enough lateral flow testing to last us through the next weeks.
“If someone finds that they cannot get a kit online and is not able to do so, they should either check their website again or visit the nearest pharmacy to purchase a kit.
He explained that the delivery capacity is a factor in ordering limitations and proposed new ways to address this issue.
Javid claimed that there’s ‘no shortage of real tests’ and said that there’s ‘tens or millions’.
He stated that the only ‘limiting factor’ was the ability to conduct the tests. The current Royal Mail arrangement is deemed inadequate.
He said, “There are new arrangements I have reached with Amazon as well as other delivery methods.”
He stated that a record number will be sent each day and that the number of “access points” is growing, which includes more pharmacies.
Boris Johnson, who was visiting a Paddington, west London vaccination clinic, was earlier asked about possible supply problems. He replied that there is an’ready supply.
UKHSA spokesperson stated that everyone who has a need for lateral flow tests can obtain test kits at their local pharmacy or other community locations.
“Due in part to high demand for lateral flow testing on gov.uk, we have temporarily suspended the order of these tests to fill existing orders.
Johnson claimed that Mr. Johnson’s demand showed that “people are doing the rational thing, getting tested.”
Daily testing replaces double-jabbed individuals who are identified as contacts of Omicron to isolate.
The Commons will also be able to vote on new regulations this week regarding the NHS Covid Pass, which would make it mandatory that all club members and others can enter large groups. There is an alternative to the negative home test for unvaccinated.
Angela Rayner (Labour deputy leader) accused the Government being reckless over their inability to plan and procure civil contingencies.
She wrote: “Boris Johnson’s priorities are wrong.”
Paul Taylor (a 37-year old pharmacy technician from Leeds) told PA that he was afraid of the idea of having to cancel any lateral flow tests.
“(I) have only just recently begun to socialize normally (going to the gym and attending large events). Regular LFTs helped me to relieve the fear of possibly passing on any diseases that I felt during the pandemic.
“I am afraid because I don’t have the tests to confirm my fears. Either go outside and risk spreading the virus or stay inside to return to self-imposed lockdown.
PA spoke to Jessica Keogh (a London-based executive assistant) who was 32 years old and said she ran out of lateral flow testing. She couldn’t order any more.
“It’s my fear that I won’t get it before Christmas, and I’ll worry about my ability to see my family,” she stated.
It did not appear that there were any difficulties with the availability of PCR-home test kits.
As record-breaking numbers tried to secure a Christmas booster, the NHS jab booking site crashed.
Boris Johnson promised to give each adult three more jabs by the end the year. This caused a spike in demand and left many parts of Britain’s infrastructure unprepared. At some centres, waiting times of as long as five hours were common.
Also, on the edge of the new testing system being introduced, the government was forced to stop temporarily online access for home lateral flow kits. To prevent further spread of the virus, everyone who has tested positive for Covid must take an immediate test every day for one week.
With 749,000 available slots, the weekend witnessed record numbers of booster bookings via the NHS website. Further 110,000 slots were also booked as of yesterday at 9 a.m.
The site started to have problems on Sunday afternoon. A second TV address by the Prime Minister caused a huge surge. Many tried to book were met with messages telling them they’d been put in a queue. Some were not able to make it this far, and instead were told that the site was experiencing technical difficulties. No10 said yesterday that the site would have more capacity in the coming days to handle the growing demand.