Covid-19 tests not available in some of worst affected areas of England

Tests for Covid-19 were not available in some of England’s worst affected areas on Wednesday – with some people offered slots over 50 miles away.

It was not possible to book a test in Bolton – which currently has the highest infection rate in England – on Wednesday morning, the PA news agency found.

But those trying to book a test in Hyndburn were offered a walk-through in Bolton at Mere Hall car park, as well as a drive-through at Royal Blackburn Hospital, according to the Government website.

PA infographic about rate of new Covid-19 cases in Bolton
(PA Graphics)

Tests were not available in other parts of the North West, where some areas remain under local restrictions.

As of Wednesday morning, it was not possible to book a test in Preston, which has the third highest infection rate in the country, and Oldham, which has the fourth.

Tests were also not available on the Government website in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Tameside, Warrington, Knowsley, Liverpool, Wirral, Bury and Salford.

In St Helens, a drive-through test was offered at Royal Blackburn Hospital, while a walk-through was offered at New Bury Community Centre car park in Farnworth, Bolton.

A drive-through test nearly 53 miles away at Uttoxeter Racecourse Stables car park was offered to those trying to book a test in Rochdale, as well as a walk-through at Railway Road car park in Darwen.

One woman who lives in Leicester, which recorded 306 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, one of the sharpest increases in any city in the UK, said she had been unable to book a test for her son.

PA infographic showing daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
(PA Graphics)

Callan Glover said she had been seeking a test for six-year-old Arlo Schlupp, who had previously needed to shield for medical reasons, since Monday.

The 30-year-old said the Government website was unable to provide her with a home test and offered her a test centre over 400 miles away in Aberdeen.

On Tuesday, the 30-year-old paid £125 for Arlo to be tested privately and he was seen within the hour, with results expected within 48 hours.

“I felt I had no choice as I am concerned for his health,” she told PA.

“He also has had five positive cases in his school over the last few days. I can only assume there are many more cases but we can’t test our children.

“It’s made me very frustrated. We knew the kids were going back to school … we shouldn’t be paying privately.”

Meanwhile, PA found that as of Wednesday morning, those trying to book a test in Bradford, which has recorded a sharp increase in its seven-day rate, were told to try again later.

There was a similar picture in Fencehouses near Sunderland, where an outbreak has been linked to a working men’s club, as those booking tests were told to return later.

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