Wales loan four million LFT tests to England in times of shortage, says Mark Drakeford
Wales will loan England four million lateral flow tests due to a shortage, said Mark Drakeford.
It comes after British pharmacies and scientists warned the lack of LFT tests in England was becoming a “huge” problem, as they were requested every five minutes to cope with the Omicron surge in cases.
In a statement, Mark Drakeford said that “the demand for PCR tests and lateral flow devices continues to increase and has reached new records.”
“Wales has a large stock of lateral flow tests sufficient to meet our needs over the coming weeks,” he said.
“The Minister of Health today agreed to loan four million of these additional tests to the UK NHS, bringing this mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.
“The distribution of lateral flow test kits via home delivery and pharmacies remains the responsibility of the UK government and we are working with them as this increases the capacity of the system.”
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid previously said the UK government would triple the provision of lateral flow tests to 300 million per month by February, but added that as current shortages persist, “we expect to have to restrict the system at times over the next two weeks. “
He advised the public to take a test “when they engage in activities that carry the most risk and before coming into contact with people at risk of serious illness.”
Leyla Hannbeck, managing director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, told BBC Radio 4 that “the scale of the problem is huge because demand is high, due to current guidelines.”
“People act responsibly in wanting to be tested. And it’s Christmas time and the New Year is just around the corner and people want to be with their family and friends, ”she said.
Professor Ravi Gupta, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, told Sky News earlier that the lack of available tests was “of great concern”.
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