People STILL aren't able to order lateral flow tests online

People STILL can’t order lateral flow tests online as new regime requiring all Covid contacts to take rapid swabs for seven days begins – as government blames Royal Mail delivery problems and calls in Amazon

  • From today, fully vaccinated contacts with covid cases must test daily for a week
  • But Government’s website has for second day run out amid delivery problems 
  • Amazon will be asked to help deliver the packs as Royal Mail struggles to cope
  • Dominic Raab insists that it’s nothing to do with supply, it is delivery problems 

Millions of Britons told to use daily lateral flow tests to slow the spread of Omicron from today still can’t get them online for the second day running with Amazon now brought in to bail out Royal Mail in the run up to Christmas.

The Government’s Plan B relies on rapid and regular testing to avoid mandatory quarantine – and critics fear a lack of tests could lead to more restrictions or even a post-Christmas lockdown. 

Double-jabbed people identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19 in England were told to take a daily rapid test for seven days from today. Unvaccinated people must self-isolate for ten days. 

But as the rules began, people logging on to get packs of seven tests were told ‘there are no rapid lateral flow tests available to order today for home delivery’ before 7am.

Britons are being urged to head to pharmacies to pick them up in person, but many of these stores have also run out.  However, there appeared to be no problems with the availability of PCR home test kits.

As a key plank in the Government’s covid prevention plan failed for the second day,  Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab insisted the issue with ordering lateral flows from the Government website is not due to a lack of the tests.

There are no more home lateral flow tests available in the UK with any supply going before 7am this morning at a time when the Government is telling millions to use one daily

People, including former Lib Dem MP Steve Webb, have expressed concerns about the lack of tests available

 

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘The problem isn’t supply and volume, the problem is the allocation and distribution, or the delivery, of it.

Website crashes in stampede for jabs  

The NHS website crashed again as record numbers rushed to book a booster in the hope of saving their Christmas.

Boris Johnson’s promise to give every adult a third jab by the end of the year triggered a surge in demand that left parts of the UK’s health infrastructure unable to cope. Queues of up to five hours built up at some vaccination centres.

The Government was also forced to suspend temporarily the online availability of home lateral flow kits on the eve of rolling out a new testing regime. From today, all contacts of those who have tested positive for Covid have to take a daily rapid test for a week in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading further.

The weekend saw a record number of booster bookings on the NHS website, with 749,000 slots snapped up. A further 110,000 slots had been booked by 9am yesterday.

Problems with the site began on Sunday afternoon. The Prime Minister’s later TV address led to a further surge, with many of those trying to book met with a message telling them that they had been placed in a queue. Others were unable to get this far and were instead told the site had ‘technical difficulties’. No10 yesterday suggested ‘further capacity’ would be built into the service in coming days to deal with the increased demand.

 

‘We know that in relation to the online system there were some challenges yesterday and that’s partly because of the proportion they’ve got each day.

‘We’re making sure that however people may wish to order them and procure them, we’re ramping up not just the capacity … but the ability to distribute and to deliver.’

New delivery arrangements have been agreed for rapid coronavirus tests after orders on the Government website were temporarily suspended amid high demand, with Amazon  being brought in

Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted there is no shortage of such tests and said the issue is with delivery.

He told MPs in Parliament that he has agreed new arrangements with Amazon and others to address the problem.

On Monday, a day ahead of new rules coming in which require fully vaccinated contacts of a positive case in England to take daily lateral flow tests for a week, the Government website where the kits can be ordered from advised people to ‘try again later’ or to book a coronavirus test site appointment instead.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the pause is temporary and availability refreshed daily, with people encouraged to revisit the website from Tuesday.

Mr Javid told the Commons: ‘I can reassure this House that the UK has sufficient lateral flow tests to see us through the coming weeks.

‘If anyone finds they are unable to get a kit online, they should check the website the following day or pop down to their local pharmacy and pick up a kit.’

He said limits on ordering tests are linked to delivery capacity and told of new arrangements to tackle the issues.

Mr Javid said there is ‘no shortage of actual tests’, adding that there are ‘tens of millions’ available.

He said the ‘the limiting factor’ is the ability to deliver the tests, branding the current arrangements with Royal Mail alone as ‘not enough’.

He added: ‘There are new arrangements that I’ve reached with Amazon and other delivery methods.’

He said a record number of tests would be delivered each day, and the number of ‘access points’ is being increased, including more through pharmacies.

Earlier, Boris Johnson was asked about potential supply issues during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington in west London, and told broadcasters there is a ‘ready supply’.

A UKHSA spokesperson said: ‘Everyone who needs a lateral flow test can collect test kits – either at their local pharmacy, some community sites and some schools and colleges.

‘Due to exceptionally high demand, ordering lateral flow tests on gov.uk has been temporarily suspended to fulfil existing orders.’ 

 

 

Jab booking chaos saw 4.4MILLION try to book a slot but just 545,000 get one – as furious GPs say they are ALREADY out of vaccines

Britain’s booster drive was thrown into chaos yesterday after more than 4.4million attempts were made to book booster shots on the NHS website.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritcahrd said 545,000 appointments had been secured by 8pm last night, after the booking system crashed when Britons piled on to get boosters.

GPs complained today that they had already run out of stocks for their walk-in clinics, after being left with less than 24 hours to order enough doses for all patients. They were given until 9am to place orders for jabs.

And thousands of Britons are again standing in queues outside jabbing centres, which yesterday stretched to up to five hours long.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab acknowledged there were ‘teething problems’ with rolling out boosters after the drive was thrown open to all UK adults. He said it would take ‘a few days’ to ramp up deliveries.

UK scientists estimate there are potentially up to 200,000 Omicron cases a day. Sajid Javid warned in the Commons yesterday that the overall number of Covid was likely 200,000, but it was later clarified that he meant the super-mutant variant.

NHS leaders warned last night that Boris Johnson’s ‘booster or bust’ deadline on December 31 is setting the health service up for ‘failure’.

The Prime Minister pledged on Sunday night to offer all eligible adults in Britain a booster jab by the end of the year, and to start administering more than a million a day.

But even at the height of the NHS’s vaccine drive in March, the health service never managed to get more than 850,000 jabbed every day.

There were 397,532 boosters reported yesterday and the rolling average now stands at 425,869 — about half the record daily total of 844,285 in March. It means 18million people in England are yet to have a third jab.

A senior NHS source broke ranks last night to warn that even hitting the a million jabs a day daily target by Christmas would be tough, let alone reaching that during mid December.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned some elective care — such as hip replacements — may be postponed as resources are directed to the booster drive. He has promised, however, that cancer patients will be unaffected.

Mr Johnson said the demand seen shows ‘that people are doing the sensible thing, and getting tests’.

The daily testing approach replaces the requirement for double-jabbed people identified as a contact of someone with Omicron to isolate.

New regulations are also set to be put to a debate and vote in the Commons this week on the NHS Covid Pass becoming mandatory for entry into clubs and other large gatherings – but with a negative home test as an alternative for the unvaccinated.

Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner, accused the Government of being ‘reckless’ over its ‘inability to procure properly and plan for civil contingencies’.

She tweeted: ‘Boris Johnson has his priorities in the wrong place.’

Paul Taylor, a 37-year-old pharmacy technician from Leeds, told the PA news agency he was ‘frightened’ at the prospect of being unable to order any lateral flow tests.

‘(I have) only recently started to socialise normally (going to the gym, attending big events). Doing regular LFTs has relieved the anxiety of potentially passing anything on that I’ve felt throughout the pandemic.’

‘I’m frightened because without tests I only have two choices: go out but risk passing on the virus to other people or stay in and return to self-imposed lockdown.’

Jessica Keogh, a 32-year-old executive assistant from London, told PA she had run out of lateral flow tests and was unable to order more.

‘It’s actually my worry that I won’t be able to get any before Christmas and I will worry about being able to visit my family,’ she said.

There did not appear to be any problems with the availability of PCR home test kits.    

The NHS jab booking website also crashed as record numbers rushed to book a booster in the hope of saving their Christmas.

Boris Johnson’s promise to give every adult a third jab by the end of the year triggered a surge in demand that left parts of the UK’s health infrastructure unable to cope. Queues of up to five hours built up at some vaccination centres.

The Government was also forced to suspend temporarily the online availability of home lateral flow kits on the eve of rolling out a new testing regime. From today, all contacts of those who have tested positive for Covid have to take a daily rapid test for a week in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading further.

The weekend saw a record number of booster bookings on the NHS website, with 749,000 slots snapped up. A further 110,000 slots had been booked by 9am yesterday.

Problems with the site began on Sunday afternoon. The Prime Minister’s later TV address led to a further surge, with many of those trying to book met with a message telling them that they had been placed in a queue. Others were unable to get this far and were instead told the site had ‘technical difficulties’. No10 yesterday suggested ‘further capacity’ would be built into the service in coming days to deal with the increased demand.

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