Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis slams Government over 'broken' coronavirus testing system

The mayor of Sheffield City Region has described the Government’s coronavirus testing system as ‘broken’.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 6:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th September 2020, 6:42 pm

Dan Jarvis made the comment amid continuing concerns over the inability to access Covid-19 tests and delays in getting results.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the coronavirus testing system, saying it is trying to meet a ‘colossal spike’ in demand.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dan Jarvis. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images.

Mr Jarvis, also a Labour MP for Barnsley, said: “It’s unacceptable that people across South Yorkshire and nationally are unable to get a coronavirus test.

“This was a national priority when the Government wanted to reach their target of 100,000 tests a day.

“But now, when they are urgently needed and the rate of cases are rising significantly across the north of England, the Government is failing in its duty to ensure sufficient tests are available.

“Without an effective testing system and having clear, accurate data about where and how the virus is spread, we will sleepwalk into a deadly second Covid-19 peak.

“It is the Government’s duty to do everything they can to keep the public safe.

“I’m pressing Ministers to get a grip and fix the broken testing system – before it is too late.”

Appearing before the science and technology committee on Thursday, Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, said demand for coronavirus testing is ‘significantly outstripping the capacity we have’.

She said that pupils returning to schools meant test demand in England from under-17s had doubled – and she also acknowledged that results were taking ‘slightly longer’.

But she said she was ‘very confident’ of raising capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

Editor’s message

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.