Coronavirus: Test and Trace Manager Says Increase in Demand for COVID Testing Was Not Expected | Political news

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The Test and Trace official said she did not believe “anyone who expected to see a really big increase in demand” for coronavirus testing.

Baroness Dido Harding’s comments to the Commons Science and Technology Committee come after some residents of COVID-19 hotspots complained they were struggling to get tested.

Several people said they were told the tests were only available hundreds of miles from their homes.

Greg Clark, a Conservative MP who chairs the committee, told Baroness Harding: “It is disheartening that we are now in September, under very predictable circumstances – people are going back to school, people are going back. at work – and we didn’t set up the right capacity during the quieter times of June, July and August. ”

He added: “Obviously you haven’t prepared enough. ”

Baroness Harding insisted that the summer had not been calm for Test and Trace staff, but admitted: “We clearly don’t have enough testing capacity. ”

She also confirmed that key workers will be given priority for coronavirus testing – teachers “likely to be at the top of this list” so that schools can “keep functioning”.

The conservative peer added that around 50% of tests are reserved for hospital patients, social service staff and residents and NHS workers – including GPs and pharmacists.

Baroness Harding partly blamed the surge in demand for the reopening of schools, revealing that the number of children requesting tests has doubled – and increased at an even higher rate among children aged five to nine. .

She confirmed that the current daily test capacity is 242,817 – although not all of them are being used.

The next goal is 500,000 by the end of October, but Baroness Harding declined to say if that would be enough.

“I have no doubts that we will need more as we move beyond the end of October,” she said.

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