People travelling hundreds of miles for coronavirus test, says Cambridge MP

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said his constituents are complaining of long waits on the 119 phone line. Credit: PA

The Cambridge MP says he's received a "flood of complaints" from people who say they've been told to travel hundreds of miles to get a coronavirus test. 

Heathrow, Birmingham and Bradford are just some of the places Daniel Zeichner said people have been directed to.

He also added some of his constituents are having to wait eight hours to get a test, while others have been "cut off on multiple occasions while waiting on the 119 phone line."

“Without an effective vaccine, a functioning test and trace system is the only way to safely reopen society and to allow people to get back to work and school more quickly rather than being stuck in isolation", Mr Zeichner said.

"Sadly the Government has been exposed as incompetent again.” 

Many people are being told there are no testing centres available to them.

The government says it's seeing a significant demand for tests from people who don't have symptoms. 

According to ministers, capacity is the highest it has ever been with more than a million tests being processed through laboratories every week.  

“NHS Test and Trace is working and our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests including from people who do not have symptoms and are not otherwise eligible", A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said.

“New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for those who need them and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster. If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”

A Covid-19 testing site in Northampton town centre Credit: ITV Anglia

Meanwhile, Bedford Borough Council is urging residents to keep taking precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 following an increase in local cases.

“Cases of COVID-19 are rising across the country and Bedford Borough is no exception", Louise Jackson at Bedford Borough Council said.

"We need everyone to work together to keep our families and our communities safe.

"Things to look for are a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change in your sense of smell or taste. If you have any one of those symptoms, don’t leave the house at all, book a test and then self-isolate for 10 days or until your test result gives you the all clear and please do keep trying if you have problems booking, as new slots will become available.”