JUST 0.16 per cent of the NHS's 550,000 staff have been tested for coronavirus – as testing sites laid empty yesterday.
Last night it was revealed just 2,000 of Britain's vital footsoldiers have been checked for the killer bug, with Boris Johnson admitting numbers need to be ramped up now.
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Thousands of doctors, GPs, nurses and paramedics are stuck in quarantine because they, or someone at at home, has symptoms.
Around 85 per cent could return to work if they knew they weren't carrying the virus.
And it came as a drive-thru testing centre for hero NHS workers at IKEA was hit by chaos with huge queues and staff turned away.
Hundreds of drivers desperate to get back to work could be seen waiting at the store in Wembley, North West London.
Long queues of cars built up at a testing centre set up at Ikea in Wembley, while another at Chessington World of Adventures was all but deserted.
Yet, at both, key workers were told they could not be tested without emails arranging a time and date.
Experts believe up to 200,000 NHS staff currently off work could return if they were tested soon.
At the Ikea in North West London, health care assistant Joanna Pasieka, 39, told The Sun: “I am working on a Covid ward.
“I rang 111 and they told me to come here, but they won’t test me here without an email. I just don’t know who I have to contact to get an appointment.
“Its quite distressing. My son has been showing symptoms but I can’t get him tested either.”
Meanwhile, the Chessington facility in the South West of the capital was virtually empty.
But one NHS emergency engineer said: “I fix vital equipment in the hospital. I’ve driven up from Brighton but they won’t give me a test without an appointment.”
It comes as the UK coronavirus death rate shot up by another 50 per cent yesterday – after 563 people died in a single day.
The total number of patients who have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus has gone up from 1,789 to 2,352.
The PM said last night that more testing would unlock the coronavirus puzzle.
In a video taken from isolation, he said: "We're also massively increasing testing, and I want to say a special word about testing because it is so important, as I have said for weeks and weeks this is the way through, this is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle, this is how we will defeat it in the end.
"What we need to do is massively ramp up not just tests so that you can know whether you've had the disease in the past.
"Second people need to know whether they haven't got it, people isolating at homes for no reason, that's very important for our NHS staff."
Ministers said at the weekend that 10,000 tests were now being carried out each day, yet Monday’s figure was just 8,630.
Total testing capacity is 12,750 and it will be weeks before the UK hits the 25,000 mark — whereas Germany is already carrying out 70,000 daily.
The figures come despite the Government admitting a mass roll-out of testing is the best and fastest way to end lockdown measures crippling the economy.
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MPs and experts last night called on Boris Johnson to step in as soon as possible to solve the blockage – which ministers blame on a lack of chemical agents and swabs.
UCL Professor Anthony Costello, a specialist in global health, said the Government should have ramped up testing earlier to quickly suppress transmission of the deadly bug.
He said Brits will be able to stop self-isolating sooner and get the economy back on track if the government step up the amount of testing.
Some desperate hospitals tried to brew chemicals to create their own coronavirus tests while others begged vets for supplies.
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