As the demand on lateral flow tests surges, the government website has announced there are currently no more available. Here’s how you can secure yourself home testing kits in light of the test shortages
Image: DAILY RECORD)
As the Omicron variant takes hold, Brits are flocking to vaccination centres and making sure they are tested regularly to ensure their Christmas plans run smoothly.
However, today the NHS website ran out of lateral flow tests with people being urged to try again tomorrow or to head to their local pharmacy.
The tests are now unavailable on official websites in the UK, leaving people having to either make do with what they have or scramble to find them in pharmacies and other distributors.
Double vaccinated contacts of people who have tested positive for the Omicron variant are told to test every day for a week instead of isolate.
The timing is made worse by Covid passes for many venues and events requiring unvaccinated people to use lateral flow tests as an alternative method for entry.
How to get Lateral Flow tests
In Pictures via Getty Images)
For those scrambling to get hold of precious lateral flow tests, the best thing to do is to use the NHS’s dedicated postcode checker, which will inform users of nearby centres both to collect home tests or to get tested.
The service will provide information about the centre’s opening times and whether it is a test site or a collection point.
It also provides a status on whether it is open or not, an address and instructions on how to get there.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) 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.”
The UKHSA’s message was somewhat confused by Prime Minister Boris Johnson half an hour before when he said there was a “ready supply” of lateral flow tests available.
It also goes without saying that people should frequently check back on the government website for updates.
Why has the government website run out lateral flow tests?
The availability of tests appears to have been put on hold while the government catches up with fulfilling pre-existing orders after “exceptionally high demand.”
Speaking to Sky News, a Whitehall spokesperson said: “We have plenty of tests, people can continue to get them from pharmacies and other sites. We have seen a surge in demand and that is putting pressure on the delivery system rather than stock levels of home test kits.”
However, Angela Rayner, the Labour deputy leader said: “The government’s inability to procure properly and plan for civil contingencies is reckless. Boris Johnson has his priorities in the wrong place.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.