Deserted coronavirus testing centres sit empty despite Government's pledge to hit 100,000 tests a day


CORONAVIRUS testing sites across the UK are sitting empty, despite the Government's pledge to hit 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

Images from yesterday show empty testing centres in ­Gateshead and Plymouth as sources inside number ten claimed the pledge from the Health Secretary was 'irrational'.

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The car park at Chessington World of Adventures, where NHS, fire, police, prison staff and their families are meant to be getting tested didn't see many cars until the afternoon before going quiet again.

One worker told The Mirror: “It’s usually like this, busy for a short while then periods when no one comes.”

The Surrey facility is just one of 26 testing sites in the UK, but similar scenes also played out in Salford, Cardiff, Brighton and Manchester, the paper reported.

Experts have said ramping up testing is the key to lifting the current lockdown.

Critics of the testing facilities have warned the drive-throughs are too far for stressed workers.

A total 501,379 Covid-19 tests have been done to date and there were another 449 hospital deaths yesterday, taking the toll to 16,509 – but the actual number is likely to be higher.

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Yesterday's coronavirus death toll rose to 16,509 after 449 more fatalities were recorded in the lowest increase for a fortnight.

The last time the daily death toll was that low was two weeks ago on April 6 when 439 fatalities were reported.

While there is often a drop in Monday's figures due to a lag in reporting over the weekend, the new tally comes as a government adviser yesterday said the UK had probably passed the first coronavirus peak.

However, infections have continued to grow with 4,676 positive tests bringing the total number of cases to 124,743, according to the Department of Health.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged that there would be 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.

However, according to the Telegraph, sources claim that the figure could 'come back to bite him' after the Government faced criticism over virus testing.

A total 501,379 Covid-19 tests have been done to date and with just nine days left for the Government to reach its target – testing capacity is at 40 per cent.

In the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday only 21,626 of the 36,000 available tests were done – including 4,789.

On Sunday only 19,316 tests were done, despite having double the capacity.

And with nine days left for the Government to honour its vow, testing capacity is at 40% of its target.

Just 21,626 of 36,000 available tests were taken up in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday – 4,789 at drive-throughs.

Sara Gorton, the Unison head of health, told the paper: “It’s no surprise take-up has been low. The test centres aren’t always near where staff live or work and long trips in the car aren’t an option when someone is poorly.

“People also need to be tested within days of the onset of symptoms. If more staff are to be tested, the Government has got to make it easier.”

 

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