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Concern that people forced to travel long distances for tests could spread virus further

15 Sep 2020 2 minute read
Testing centre in Cardiff. Photo Nation.Cymru

A Powys Councillor has expressed concerns that people being forced to travel long distances in and out of Wales for tests could spread Covid-19 further.

Newtown East councillor Joy Jones was responding to news that people from Shropshire, Staffordshire and as far as Liverpool had driven down to the town for tests on Sunday.

They found the centre had closed early for the day, with a handwritten sign on cardboard informed them: “Test centre closed. Please rebook.”

The UK Government testing centre based at the Hafren car park near the college closed early on Sunday afternoon due to a lack of tests available.

Councillor Joy Jones, said: “Why are people from towns outside of Powys coming here?

“This could potentially spread the virus,” she told the Shropshire Star. “I am sure with the best will in the world they wouldn’t mean to, but after a long journey people will possible need the toilet, drink or food, or even just stretch their legs.”



Councillor David Selby, who is also Newtown’s mayor, said: “Closing early on any day is not acceptable.”

“This is appalling and unacceptable and needs action,” he said.

“Handwritten signs are not good enough and no-one who is potentially ill should be expected to travel many miles for a test that may not even happen.”

A spokesman for the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care, said: “It is disappointing to hear of people having poor experiences accessing testing.

“Over 17 million tests have been delivered so far and we are aiming to grow capacity to 500,000 tests per day by the end of October.”

A spokesman for Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB), said: “We are aware of a number of issues affecting the UK Government’s Covid-19 antigen testing programme which includes the drive-through testing centres in Powys.

“We have escalated these issues to Welsh Government so that they can raise this with UK Government.”

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