Now coronavirus testing is in gridlock: Day one of new push to test millions sees 5,000 home kits run out by 6am and all 15,000 drive-through slots gone four hours later
- Queues of cars were spotted at drive-through sites across the UK yesterday
- Up to 11 million key workers and their households are now eligible for tests
- Ministers are racing to hit their 100,000-a-day testing target by next Thursday
- It came as the latest UK hospital death toll reached 19,506, up by 768 yesterday
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A new website where key workers can book coronavirus tests buckled under an unprecedented demand from those with symptoms yesterday.
A total of 5,000 home testing kits ran out by 6.02am – two minutes after they were made available – leading to an apology from the Department of Health.
All 15,000 drive-through slots for Friday were taken by 10am.
Queues were spotted at drive-through sites across the country, with some arriving from neighbouring counties.
No 10 said it would ramp up the testing and planned to increase its capacity for home testing to 18,000 a day by the end of next week.
It came as the latest UK hospital death toll reached 19,506, up by 768 yesterday.
All 15,000 drive-through slots for Friday were taken by 10am. Pictured: Cars queuing for a drive-through slot at Wembley in London
No 10 said it would ramp up the testing and planned to increase its capacity for home testing to 18,000 a day by the end of next week. Pictured: A queue at the drive-through testing area in Milton Keynes
Up to 11 million key workers and their households are now eligible for tests if they have symptoms.
They include NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, supermarket workers and those in food production.
Ministers are racing to hit their 100,000-a-day testing target by next Thursday, but only 23,560 tests were carried out in the 24 hours up to 9am on Thursday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was confident the target would be reached, while admitting there were ‘no guarantees in life’.
At the Milton Keynes drive-through facility, key workers waited in queues for more than an hour.
Drivers were checked for their eligibility at one of two screening stations before being waved to the three tents for their test.
One woman was rejected, with testers holding up a sign claiming she did not meet the required criteria.
Teacher Vicky Egan, 38, from Northolt, west London, logged on to the Government website at 6am yesterday.
She was told that home tests were unavailable but booked a testing slot in Wembley for 3pm.
Ministers are racing to hit their 100,000-a-day testing target by next Thursday. Pictured: Malwina Lidak 34, from Hanwell visited a test centre at Wembley IKEA yesterday
Pictured: Soroush and his wife Elmira from Collingdale visited the test centre at Wembley IKEA yesterday
‘I’ve had symptoms so it has been a big worry not knowing whether I have the virus,’ she said.
‘Thankfully I haven’t had to teach but I would have liked to have been tested before now.’
Key workers can register on the gov.uk website for an appointment at a drive-through centre or can request a home test kit to be delivered by Royal Mail and Amazon.
The slots become available daily.
No 10 also said the Government was trusting that those applying for tests were key workers, with no eligibility checks in place for online bookings.
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said ministers should have been prepared for the demand for tests.