According to the UK COVID-19 dashboard, more than 24 million coronavirus tests have been carried out to date. As of October 8, the Government has capacity for 307,635 PCR tests. These tests check for signs of COVID-19 in a swab test of saliva, and are commonly referred to as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
The Government pledged to increase its testing capacity to 200,000 tests per day by the end of May this year.
Although the current testing capacity is now higher than this target, the NHS Test and Trace system has not been without its hiccups over the last few months.
People have reported long delays in getting test results back, while others have struggled to find a test site altogether.
Recently Public Health England (PHE) failed to publish 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 in the reported daily coronavirus cases tally.
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The issue was determined to be a technical one, which PHE said they had “worked to quickly resolve”.
Michael Brodie, PHE’s interim chief executive, said: “NHS test and trace and PHE have worked to quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact-tracing system.
“We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result.”
Despite some issues with the Test and Trace service, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms are being urged to get a test as soon as possible.
If you live in England and have been told to get a test before you go into hospital, you can also use the free test service.
Local councils may also ask you to get a test, and you may need to get a test if you are taking part in one of the Government’s pilot projects.
You need to get your coronavirus test carried out within the first eight days of having symptoms if you live in England.
If you develop symptoms the Government urges you book a test straight away, with testing slots usually available for the same day.
You can request a home test, however these must be ordered by 3pm on day seven of having symptoms.
On day eight of having symptoms, you will need to go to a testing site to get a coronavirus test.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you need to get a test done within the first five days of having symptoms.