Leading Labour councillors in Reading have expressed their fears that a Covid-19 Test and Trace system on the verge of collapse leaves Reading at risk of local outbreaks. Many Reading people in need of a test are complaining that that they have only been offered slots at sites many miles away, such as the Isle of Wight or Inverness, or cannot get a test at all. As Reading has lower cases than many parts of country, priority for testing is being given to other areas.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead councillor for Health said “It beggars belief that we are being told that there is insufficient capacity at labs to deal with demand. The government have had months to sort this. It was totally predictable that as schools go back and more people return to their workplaces then the need for testing would increase. Unfortunately the privatised national system is unable to cope. The government needs to get a grip immediately if we’re to keep Reading safe and avoid another lockdown.”
Many people are unhappy that there is no local Reading testing site, leaving sick people needing to drive long distances to get a test.
Leader of Reading Borough Council, Cllr Jason Brock, said “It’s hugely frustrating that we’ve not been given the powers and resources to run a local test and trace system. The national system is a total shambles and is letting down the people of Reading. The shortage of available tests risks people not knowing that they have to self-isolate, prevents tracing their contacts to warn them they might may be infected, and means we may not be aware of outbreaks in the community. With winter approaching the government must act now.”