The shortage of lateral flow testing (LFT) and the lack of walk-in testing slots across England threaten to undermine the government’s plans to make the New Year celebrations go unhindered.
Pharmacies across England say they are running out of test kits to distribute to the public before Christmas and have been unable to receive additional kits as the supply chain has been disrupted by the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays .
Some community pharmacies in rural areas said they had not received shipments of LFT since the start of last week, although many remained closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the extended holidays.
People who turned to the NHS website were also unlucky: on Tuesday morning he said no delivery slots for LFTs were available, for the second day in a row. But by mid-afternoon, deliveries were on offer again, with a warning that LFT kits could take three days to arrive.
The NHS site also said no walk-in LFT or PCR tests were available in England on Tuesday morning. By early afternoon, the site reported the availability of PCR testing in most parts of England, although some areas were on the verge of running out.
The UK’s Health Safety Agency has said it is encouraging people to revisit sites “every few hours” if they cannot order tests, as more will be available, and to use whatever tests they have. they might already have before ordering or collecting more kits.
A spokesperson said, “Despite unprecedented demand, we continue to deliver millions of rapid lateral flow tests every day. Our total delivery capacity has doubled to 900,000 test kits per day since Saturday, December 18 so more people can order tests.
“During times of exceptional demand, there may be temporary pauses in ordering or receiving tests, to ensure that we are managing distribution through the system and supporting changing requirements for the LFD. [lateral flow device] and PCR testing, and the delivery capacity was reduced at Christmas and holidays.