Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has acknowledged that Britain’s laboratory capacity “has been an issue,” saying that the government is trying to increase the number of test centers amid the coronavirus crisis.
The country is facing real challenges with testing capacity for Covid-19 due to “bottlenecks in laboratories,” Buckland told Sky News on Wednesday. “We’re increasing the number of test centers, we’ve got 400 test centers, getting it up to 500 but clearly there are still real challenges.”
The testing chaos is continuing, leaving many people across the country with no way to get a coronavirus test. In May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to create a “world-beating” system to test and trace those exposed to the virus. However, many people have had to queue up to get a test at walk-in centers.
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“We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we have that capacity,” Buckland told BBC TV. “We know where the pressure points are, we are piloting new walk-in test centers.”
He believes health workers, care home workers and school children and their parents should get priority for tests. But on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that fixing the system would take weeks.
Hancock will also announce a priority list for people set to receive the coronavirus vaccine once one becomes available later in the week, according to Buckland. “NHS workers have to be at the top of the list, and they always have been. And then the social care sector must be prioritized too,” he said.
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