Lack of PCR tests available in Suffolk

The new drive-in Covid testing centre in the Cherry Tree car park at Dereham.

Covid testing centres across the country have run out of appointments - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

There is currently no availability for Covid PCR tests in the East of England, according to the Government website.

UK Health Security Agency sources said “very high demand” for PCR test slots at sites across the country had led to temporary reduction in availability in some areas.

More slots for PCR testing are expected to be made available soon.

This comes as the Government has temporarily stopped issuing lateral flow tests due to a surge in demand. 

On Monday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that “due to exceptionally high demand, ordering lateral flow tests on has been temporarily suspended to fulfil existing orders”.

Ministers have insisted there is no issue over supply, but rather there are constraints on the delivery system for the tests, as they encouraged people to pick up testing kits from their local pharmacies.

However, many people have reported that their local pharmacy is out of stock.

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David Edwards, (Acting) Regional Deputy Director, UK Health Security Agency East said: “There is no shortage of lateral flow tests.

"More tests should become available for home delivery every few hours.

“We are issuing record numbers of rapid test kits to people’s homes across the country, with 1.6 million tests – 230,000 boxes – distributed just yesterday.

"We are urgently working to further expand our delivery capacity so more people can order tests.

“Everyone who needs a lateral flow test can also collect them at their local pharmacy, some community sites and some schools and colleges.

“Appointments for PCR tests are available, but high demand can lead to temporary reduced availability in some areas.

"More appointments are made available to book every afternoon.

“Testing is playing an integral role in keeping people safe and managing the virus and we’re so grateful to everyone that’s getting tested to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.

"Everyone with symptoms or who is directed to get a PCR test should continue to come forward to get a test delivered to their home or at a test site.”