The government has been urged to stop sending people to the Isle of Wight for coronavirus tests amid fears island residents will be exposed to ‘unnecessary risk’.
Leader of Isle of Wight Council, Dave Stewart, said people are using ferries to cross the Solent, defying government advice to avoid public transport when travelling to an appointment.
Mr Stewart, a Conservative councillor, described the situation as ‘unacceptable’.
He added: ‘This is not good as it means people are being expected to travel on ferries, in contravention of clear government guidance about using public transport while seeking a COVID-19 test, thereby putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk.’
Mr Stewart also hit out at the government’s booking system which has seen islanders sent 75 miles away to mainland Britain for their own test.
He told Derbyshire Live: ‘The island has not been immune from the national challenges with the Test and Trace programme and we have seen reductions in the number of appointments available at our testing facility, with people being offered alternative slots at venues many miles away.’
Isle of Wight Council’s director for public health, Simon Bryant, also warned residents not to travel to mainland testing sites when symptomatic.
The NHS Test and Trace system has come under a barrage of criticism despite promises it would be ‘world beating’.
It was branded ‘chaotic and ridiculous’ by Good Morning Britain resident GP, Dr Hilary Jones.
He slammed the UK’s capacity for testing, telling viewers: ‘It’s ridiculous. We aren’t making these tests available with quick results locally and tracing every single person.’
No tests were available in any of England’s top 10 coronavirus hotspots this week, according to reports.
People in Bolton, Salford, Bradford, Blackburn, Oldham, Preston, Pendle, Rochdale, Tameside and Manchester could not book walk-in, drive-through or home tests, LBC claimed.
Hundreds of people were forced to wait five hours to get a Covid-19 test.
But others were left infuriated after finding their local testing centres ‘virtually empty’ – despite being unable to book an appointment online.
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