clearn.png
Monday September 21st, 2020 4:58AM

UK to ration COVID-19 testing amid testing failures

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — U.K. lawmakers criticized the government's handling of the COVID-19 testing crisis for a second day Wednesday, as opposition leaders claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson lacked a cohesive plan to tackle the virus at a time when the country faces a second wave in the pandemic.

Johnson defended his efforts to increase testing capacity, telling the House of Commons that the government was responding to a “colossal'' increase in demand and arguing that Britain is testing more people than other European countries.

But Angela Rayner, who led the weekly questioning for the Labour Party, said he should “get some skates on” to ensure the country is ready for the colder winter months ahead when infection rates are expected to soar.

“They’ve had six months to get this right and yet the prime minister still can’t deliver on his promises," Rayner said. “The health secretary said yesterday it would take weeks to sort this situation out. We don’t have weeks.”

The squeeze on tests comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.K. that has pushed daily new infections to levels not seen since late May and has forced the Conservative government to impose limits on public gatherings. Figures released Wednesday showed 3,991 new confirmed infections during the previous 24 hours, up markedly from 3,105 a day earlier.

Widespread testing is seen as crucial to controlling the spread of the virus because it allows those who are infected to self-isolate while helping health officials identify hotspots and trace those who are infected.

Johnson said Wednesday the government would ration coronavirus testing, giving priority to health workers and care home staff after widespread reports that people around the country were unable to schedule tests.

“We have massively increased our capacity,'' he told lawmakers on a key oversight committee. “I know many people have had infuriating experiences and I do sympathize, but 89% get their results within 24 hours.''

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News that the government was drawing up a new priority list for testing, suggesting that students and their families could be next in line after the National Health Service and social care.

Over the past two days, lawmakers from all parties have bombarded the government with a litany of complaints from constituents desperate to get tests so they can return to school or work and visit elderly loved ones.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Tuesday that it may take weeks to sort out the problems. In the meantime, people have been turning up at emergency rooms due to the lack of availability of testing, with one hospital official in the northwestern city of Bolton saying that 100 people showed up seeking a test in recent days.

The Association of School and College Leaders warned that schools could struggle to remain open unless testing capacity increases as more cases emerge.

“Teachers need to be counted as key workers in order that you can at least keep that maths teacher in front of 30 young people if their test is negative,” Geoff Barton, the group’s general-secretary, told the BBC.

___

Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
High-tech ship set for launch on 400th Mayflower anniversary
Dignitaries, seafarers and scientists are gathering in Plymouth, England, to mark the 400th anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower, which carried a group of Puritan settlers to a new life across the Atlantic Ocean
7:11AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Hurricane Sally blasts ashore in Alabama with punishing rain
Hurricane Sally has finally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, with top winds of 105 mph
7:03AM ( 26 minutes ago )
UK to ration COVID-19 testing amid testing failures
The British government plans to ration coronavirus testing, giving priority to health workers and care home staff after widespread reports that people around the country were unable to schedule tests
7:01AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
EU wants better coordination on virus, announces summit
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc must rise above its fragmented approach on dealing with the coronavirus by centralizing more decision-making on health issues
6:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
Madrid, Europe's pandemic hotspot, mulls targeted lockdowns
Authorities in Madrid say selective lockdowns will be introduced in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster to avoid bottlenecks in health services
5:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
EU chief says UK cannot change EU-UK withdrawal agreement
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the United Kingdom cannot unilaterally change the EU-UK bilateral withdrawal agreement without destroying global trust in the country
5:03AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
High-tech ship set for launch on 400th Mayflower anniversary
Dignitaries, seafarers and scientists are gathering in Plymouth, England, to mark the 400th anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower, which carried a group of Puritan settlers to a new life across the Atlantic Ocean
7:11AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Hurricane Sally blasts ashore in Alabama with punishing rain
Hurricane Sally has finally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, with top winds of 105 mph
7:03AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Celebs join Instagram 'freeze' to protest Facebook inaction
Celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio are taking part in a 24-hour Instagram “freeze” on Wednesday
6:36AM ( 53 minutes ago )
5 Things to Know for Today
Here are a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:30AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Seoul: N. Korea may conduct underwater-launched missile test
A South Korean military official says North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year amid long-stalled nuclear talks with the United States
6:28AM ( 1 hour ago )