PM Boris Johnson has once again warned people to take a test before celebrating on New Year. However, pharmacies have advised that there is an unsustainable test shortage as people are finding it impossible to order kits online. This chaos has now continued for four days. Appointments for many drive-through and walk-in Covid test centres were unavailable for on Wednesday – even for doctors, nurses and carers – and were still unavailable this morning.
This has created a major dilemma. If people stay in on New Year’s Eve because they cannot take a test and be reassured that they are unlikely to be infectious, there could be economic consequences to the hospitality industry. On the other hand, if people go out and mix without testing, it will only fuel infection numbers.
Sajid Javid has warned MPs that there will be a two-week shortage of lateral flow tests, despite a record number of Covid-19 cases. In a letter to MPs, the Health Secretary said that the supply of lateral flow tests would continue to be “constrained” for the next fortnight because of “huge demand”.