Coronavirus test slots for key workers run out for second day in a row

The Canary

Coronavirus tests for key workers through the government’s new booking website have run out in England and Wales for a second day in a row.

More than 10 million key workers and their households are now eligible for Covid-19 tests as officials race to hit their 100,000-a-day testing target by 30 April.

However, home testing kits were listed as “unavailable” on the government’s booking website just 15 minutes after it reopened on Saturday morning, according to the BBC.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

It was also not possible to book tests at drive-through regional sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 10am on 25 April.

According to the site, tests at a drive-through regional site in Scotland are still available.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said more will be made available from 26 April at 8am.

Some 46,000 people tried to book a coronavirus test on 24 April. But, within two minutes of the website going live at 6am, all 5,000 tests for people to carry out at home had been booked.

Meanwhile, more than 15,000 appointments for tests at drive-through centres were also taken quickly, forcing the Department of Health to apologise on Twitter “for any inconvenience”.

NHS England’s medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, urged key workers showing Covid-19 symptoms to book a test.

Asked how many were available on 25 April, he told BBC Breakfast: “We are going at capacity, over 50,000 now. The aim is to get to 100,000 by Thursday.

“The NHS has committed to capacity of 25,000 within NHS laboratories and we are on trajectory for that capacity to be in place.”

Under the expansion of the testing, NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production are among those now eligible.

Test booking slots or home testing kits will become available from 8am each day, the Department of Health has said, with their release staggered throughout the day.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us