Suspected Covid-19 carriers have turned up to a Newcastle hospital pleading to be tested.

The Freeman Hospital has revealed it has had requests from people for a coronavirus test, even though rules state those with symptoms should self-isolate and be tested at an official site.

The High Heaton hospital has reiterated the need for the public to follow the rules in order to help keep staff and patients safe.

The area's MP said while visiting hospital could endanger others, it highlighted the scale of the testing fiasco.

“People who have symptoms should not put others at risk. They should self-isolate and arrange to have a test," insisted Labour's Nick Brown.

Newcastle MP Nick Brown
Newcastle MP Nick Brown

"The North East of England needs more testing and a faster turnaround. Testing and swift, accurate responses are a necessary part of the plan."

Tyneside's MPs have pushed Matt Hancock over the testing shortage, which has left some with symptoms facing 200 mile trips to get a test. Others have been told to drive to a different country.

The Health Secretary has acknowledged "operational challenges" in the testing system, but insists it will be fixed in a matter of weeks.

However last week, on the day Mr Hancock enforced tough new restrictions on the North East, dozens of drivers turned up to a Sunderland testing centre - only to find there were no staff there to actually test them.

The unit is open today
The unit is open today

Ushering them away from the Doxford Park site, security guards blamed computers crashing.

However the lack of testing capacity has caused headaches across the UK, including in Bolton, which currently has the UK's highest infection rate.

Hundreds recently turned up to a hospital A&E department in the town demanding tests due to a lack of tests.

While it is understood there have been just a few instances of this happening at the Freeman, the trust has urged anybody who thinks they may have the virus to follow the official NHS guidelines, which can be found here.