Man waits eight days for coronavirus test despite Asia travel and high fever

A man from London said he has been waiting eight days for a coronavirus test despite recently returning from Asia and having a temperature of 40.5C (104.9F).

Mike Tinmouth returned home to the UK on Saturday February 29 after travelling around Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia, and first rang 111 on Wednesday March 3.

But despite a high fever, cough and making daily calls to the service, he has yet to be tested.

The 39-year-old has been self-isolating at home and trying to avoid contact with his partner who is a teacher. His partner did not travel with him to Asia.

Mr Tinmouth, who advises tech start-ups on marketing and sales, told the PA news agency: “I think I am coming out the other side of it but there is no clear guidance about what I am supposed to do after 14 days.”

Mr Tinmouth now has a test booked for Thursday but will not know the results for a further five days.

He rang 111 shortly after falling ill but confusion with the service meant his test appointment was never booked.

“I was told at first because I didn’t have a bad cough it was just a cold and to take ibuprofen,” he said.

“But when I rang back a few days later after the cough had worsened, I was told I had been given the wrong advice — given my travel history I should have been tested immediately.”

If anyone thought elevator music was bad normally, try it with a headache and 39.5c temperature.

— Mike Tinmouth (@michaeltinmouth) March 10, 2020

Despite being told on Monday he needed a test, no one called to arrange one. The next day he used the online booking system but was never called to arrange this. He was later told due to high demand, it could be days before a test was booked in, let alone completed.

He said the response does not fill him with confidence the UK is prepared for a coronavirus epidemic.

“I was in Singapore in the middle of February and people were having temperature checks, there were people in masks everywhere. That was the middle of February — how is the UK in the middle of March and not implemented anything similar?” he said.

“How has this taken us by surprise?

“Only 1,500 can be tested each day, so I am really concerned about those people, like myself, who aren’t able to be tested and who might be infecting others.”