PCRs run out in England as Brits scramble to get Covid tests ahead of NYE celebrations

BRITS are struggling to get hold of coronavirus tests in the run up to New Year's Eve celebrations.

Health secretary Sajid Javid this week said parties could still go ahead but that people should remain cautious and test before they go to gatherings.



But as people have flocked to the government portal to access tests, some have been met with disapointment.

As of this morning, people trying to order lateral flow kits for home delivery have been told there is none available.

There are also currently no PCR tests available for home delivery and there are also none for essential workers.

As well as this there are currently no availability for drive-in/walk through sites for PCRs in the whole of England.

There are 'very few' available in Scotland, none in Northern Ireland – but there is full availability in Wales.

The shortage in tests comes as experts have urged ministers to slash isolation time as some say that we need to 'learn to live with the mild virus'.

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The Omicron variant – which is now responsible for 90 per cent of cases in the UK, is causing cold-like symptoms in most people.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Follow our Omicron Covid live blog for all the latest news & stories

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

With many Brits being cautious and following guidance to get tested, there has been a disruption in supply, with the website urging 'if you can't get a test now, try again later'.

The message on the government website reads: "Sorry, there are no home delivery slots left for rapid lateral flow tests right now.

"You may still be able to pick up rapid lateral flow tests from a pharmacy or collection point, where these are available. Only pick up tests if you do not have symptoms.

"If you have tests at home you can use these instead.

"The 119 service does not have access to more home delivery slots right now. You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999."

TESTING TESTING

Brits have been advised to take lateral flows in the run up to New Year and people who are currently isolating need two negative lateral flow tests on day six and seven of isolation to be released.

In the UK current rules state that if you test positive for coronavirus then you need to isolate for seven days.

You need to take a negative lateral flow test on both day six and day seven in order to be able to go outside.

If these tests are positive then you can't go out and you have to wait until you have two negative tests in a row, up to the previous 10 day point.

With PCR tests you need to take one if you have symptoms of Covid and you are also advised to take a PCR if you have been into contact with someone who has the virus.

It's thought that around 900,000 test kits are being supplied to Brits each day.

Pharmacy chiefs have also said that there is a lack of lateral flows available.

'INCONSISTENT SUPPLY'

The chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said there are 'inconsistent supplies'.

Leyla Hannbeck said that many pharmacies are claiming that people are coming in every five minutes asking for a test.

Speaking toBBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Hannbeck said: "What our members are telling us is that demand for the lateral flow tests is very high at the moment due to the current guidelines around self-isolation.

"Pharmacies are reporting that every five minutes approximately somebody comes in to the pharmacy asking for a test.

"But, unfortunately, because of the issues around supply being patchy and inconsistent, it means that those who come for the test don't always get it, which is very stressful not just for the pharmacy team but for the patient.

"The scale of the problem is huge because the demand is high, because of the current guidelines.

"People are doing the responsible thing by wanting to be tested and we are in the Christmas area of time, and the New Year is just around the corner and people want to be with family and friends."

Yesterday Covid cases hit a record high with 129,471 more people testing positive.

But coronavirus-related deaths fell, with 18 fatalities recorded in the UK.

The total number of Covid cases recorded in the UK currently stands at 12,339,462, with 148,021 deaths overall.

Over the three days over the Christmas period, cases had risen by over 320,000.

The update on infection rates comes after the the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there had been 17,269 additional confirmed cases Omicron reported across the UK.

The Sun has contacted the UK Health Security Agency.

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