Struggle to get hold of Covid kits 'could put people off getting tested'

Salopians are still struggling to get their hands on lateral flow tests, despite claims that millions would be available to pharmacies in the run up to New Year's Eve.

An NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 lateral flow test
An NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 lateral flow test

Chemists across the county have been facing significant demand since the Omicron variant caused case numbers to reach record levels, and many locations listed on the government's website as stocking tests have run out.

Some people have been getting up at the crack of dawn to order kits online and to be first in the queue at their pharmacy, while others have been turning to social media for tip-offs of places which might have tests available.

The UK Health Security Agency said record numbers of tests would be made available to pharmacies, saying: "If you have not been able to get the test you need from gov.uk, please keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available every day."

The demand for test has also been driven up after the standard isolation period was reduced to a week rather than 10 days.

The UKHSA has been approached for a comment by the Shropshire Star for county-specific lateral flow test data and advice.

Julie Ward, from Newport, is one of many who have been going to significant lengths to get hold of tests. With her daughter working in a nursery and her mother considered vulnerable, her family have remained vigilant with testing.

"Since the new variant it has been more difficult to get tests," she said. "More people are trying to be safe, which is a great thing.

"I asked on Twitter. Somebody suggested getting up early in the morning to order them from the government website. I was up at 6.45am and was able to get a box, although a box of seven will only last our family a few days.

"But people have been so kind. There was one lady who I don't even know who replied on the thread and she said I could have a box. I gave a box to a colleague the week before Christmas. I think we've just got to try and help each other out."

She believes the difficulty in obtaining lateral flow kits could put people off getting tested, and more should be done to get tests to old people, who may not be able to use the internet to get them.

"You shouldn't have to go through all that to keep yourself and your family safe. For an old person, if you don't have an email address, you can't do deliveries online.

"I do feel for everybody who is trying to get them.

"The government are telling people to keep testing. Well, that's great if you can actually get hold of a test."

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