Covid Sheffield: Lateral flow tests shortage is ‘putting lives at risk’ and threatening to ‘bring city to a halt’
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Coun Ben Miskell has spoken out about the shortage of tests, which are done at home, and says it has the potential to drive up Covid infections in South Yorkshire.
The Arbourthorne councillor, who also teaches at Bradfield school, said: “As a teacher and local councillor, I come into contact with lots of people and like other Sheffielders, I want to keep those around me safe.
“Today I visited pharmacy after pharmacy listed on the government website and nowhere had lateral flow test kits in stock. It’s a national disgrace.”
Long queues for lateral flow tests
Coun Miskell said he’s also received complaints from residents about long queues outside some pharmacies, with many people finding themselves disappointed when they get to the front due to limited deliveries from the government.
And he’s hit out at government plans for daily lateral flow tests for 100,000 critical workers.
“These are a smokescreen when many people, including essential workers like nurses, those who collect our rubbish and children’s social workers aren’t eligible.
“They have to struggle to find their own lateral flow kits from pharmacies with limited stocks or battle the shambolic government website that says there aren’t any home delivery slots available.
“Without access to lateral flow testing, there’s a real danger that our city could grind to a halt, as Covid infection rates rise.”
Over Christmas the Government’s sole supplier of lateral flow kits to pharmacies closed, resulting in many being unable to get hold of tests.
From January 11 people who test positive for Covid on a lateral flow – but don’t have symptoms – no longer need a follow-up PCR test. They still have to isolate for at least seven days from the test result.
The rule change aims to tackle nationwide staff shortages, with hundreds of thousands of workers across the country absent from work due to Covid-related reasons.
It should also ease demand for PCR tests, which were unavailable to the public on numerous occasions over the festive period.