UK coronavirus home test kits run out as eligibility list is expanded | World news

The NHS appeared to run out of its daily allocation of home testing kits within hours on Tuesday morning after Matt Hancock said anyone aged five and over with symptoms could get tested for coronavirus.

Those trying to order a home test kit were left disappointed as the NHS website said they were not available as early as 10am, while a recorded message on the government’s 119 line said: “We’re very sorry. The available allocation has already been issued at this time.”

NHS website for coronavirus tests on morning of Tuesday 19 May

NHS website for coronavirus tests on morning of Tuesday 19 May. Photograph: NHS website

The apparent shortage comes less than 24 hours after Hancock massively expanded the list of those eligible for a coronavirus test to include anyone with symptoms aged five or over in the UK.

He told the Commons on Monday afternoon: “We will continue to prioritise access to tests for NHS and social care, patients, residents and staff, and as testing ramps up towards our new goal of a total capacity of 200,000 tests a day, ever more people will have the confidence and certainty that comes with an accurate test result.”

Shortly after 8am on Tuesday the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) posted on Twitter that it had released new bookings for “thousands more home testing kits”, directing users to the website

Department of Health and Social Care

We have just released new bookings for thousands more home testing kits. 📦

There is also availability to book a drive-through test today at our network of regional testing sites. 📌

If you have symptoms, self-isolate, and book a test online now:

May 19, 2020

However, within two hours the website said home testing kits were not available. A short message on the NHS page read: “We are experiencing very high demand. If the type of test you would like is not available, please try again tomorrow.”

A recorded message on the 119 Covid-19 service said: “If you’re calling to order a home test kit – we’re very sorry. The available allocation has already been issued at this time. Please call back or go online later when more stock may become available.”

The DHSC said: “There’s obviously a limited number of home tests available but more are released at different points throughout the day.”

Several people complained about the shortage. One wrote on Twitter: “Just been on the @GOVUK website to get a test kit delivered to my home as I have symptoms of covid19, to my horror there is none available. I live alone, I don’t drive so cannot get to a test station. Do I have to suffer alone not knowing.”

In response, a reply from the UK government Twitter account said: “There has been significant demand for booking tests. We apologise for any inconvenience. We are continuing to rapidly increase availability. More tests will be available tomorrow here:

Until Monday, eligibility had been limited to a series of groups including key workers, those aged over 65, people who could not work from home, or people who lived with someone from one of these groups.

Source link