Walk-in centres in parts of England run out of PCR test kits 5 months ago

Walk-in centres in parts of England run out of PCR test kits

It's looking increasingly unlikely you'll be able to get a PCR test at a walk-in centre before Christmas

At the time of writing, people in London, parts of South England and some of the North trying to book a PCR test on Tuesday from the Government website have found appointments are unavailable.

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Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, the Isle of Wight, Bristol, and Mendip currently have no PCR tests, while Stockton-on-Tees and Nottinghamshire are reporting very low stocks.

Those with suspected covid-19 are still able to order a home testing kit.

Earlier Tuesday, the government website showed all walk-in tests were unavailable but the website has since been updated showing some availability.

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Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are reporting availability.

Yorkshire and the West Midlands similarly reporting good stock.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are vital in documenting new cases of the Omicron variant. The tests, sent to a lab for analysis, can show if the variant causing the infection looks like Omicron, Delta, or something else.

According to modelling from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Omicron is currently infecting 200,000 people a day across the UK.

On Monday, new testing rules came into effect in England as part of a series of measures designed to combat the new variant.

Double vaccinated contacts of people with coronavirus were being asked to take part in daily testing, to stop carriers from spreading the infection while preventing the need to self-isolate.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that Omicron, which is thought to be much more transmissible than previous variants but not necessarily more life-threatening, now represents more than 20% of coronavirus cases in England.

A spokesperson for the UK Health Security Agency said “Appointments for PCR tests are available, but high demand can lead to temporary reduced availability in some areas. More appointments are made available to book every afternoon.

“Testing is playing an integral role in keeping people safe and managing the virus and we’re so grateful to everyone that’s getting tested to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. Everyone with symptoms or who is directed to get a PCR test should continue to come forward to get a test delivered to their home or at a test site.”

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