'Get a grip!' Sheffield MP blasts Government over 'shambolic' Covid testing

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A Sheffield MP has blasted the Government’s coronavirus testing as ‘shambolic’ after hearing from constituents who were told to travel hundreds of miles for a test.

One Sheffield resident was informed that he would need to travel over 100 miles to Sunderland to have his symptomatic children tested.

Another family was told to travel to Dundee - some 300 miles and an estimated five and a half hour drive or a difficult train journey - while experiencing debilitating symptoms.

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Now Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to 'get a grip’ after hearing that yesterday and today, not a single coronavirus testing appointment was available in Sheffield.

Sheffield Labour MP Louise Haigh.Sheffield Labour MP Louise Haigh.
Sheffield Labour MP Louise Haigh.

She said: “Unable to access testing, families and individuals may well be unnecessarily losing out on vital income or education, while living with the stress of not knowing whether they have the virus.

“In July, Health Secretary Matt Hancock advised people to get tested if “you have symptoms,” or “if you have any doubt.” Yet it seems that there has been a u-turn in that messaging, with Mr Hancock on Wednesday telling the public to only book tests if they have symptoms.”

She added: “The government’s handling of Covid testing has been utterly shambolic. People want to be responsible and follow government guidelines but are being foiled by a testing system which is clearly close to breaking point.

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“It’s all well and good for the Prime Minister to talk about delivering 10 million tests a day – his so- called Project Moon Shot – but people can’t get a test today.

“With children returning to school and people being asked to return to their offices, it was inevitable that testing capacity would become an issue.

“However, there have been days when not a single testing appointment was available in Sheffield. This situation is completely unacceptable as people are forced to stay at home

and isolate while they wait for a local test to become available.

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“The government needs to get a grip on this situation and fast.”

It comes after it was announced that Sheffield has been added to the Government’s watchlist for areas of Britain that are of concern due to rising Covid infection rates.