The government’s flagship coronavirus website ran out of tests within minutes this morning and was forced to shut down.
Millions of key workers and their households were told yesterday that they are now eligible for tests as the Government races to meet its 100,000 daily target by the end of next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that people whose work is critical to the Covid-19 response, and those they live with, will be able to register for a test if they have symptoms.
NHS and social care staff, police officers, teachers, social workers, undertakers, journalists and those who work in supermarkets and food production are among those now eligible.
“Easier, faster and simpler” testing
Mr Hancock set out his plans for “easier, faster and simpler” testing so that more people can access a Covid-19 test to tell them whether they have the virus.
He said people can register for a test on the gov.uk website.
But the website was “closed” within minutes of opening on Friday morning.
As scores of people logged on to apply for a test, a message informed them: “Currently, only drive through tests are available.”
Minutes later, it appeared that nobody was able to book a test at all, as the site told them: “Coronavirus test: applications closed.”
Downing Street briefing
Yesterday at the daily Downing Street briefing, Mr Hancock said the capacity for carrying out tests was now “ahead of our plans”, with the ability to carry out more than 51,000 tests a day.
“Because capacity has now increased so substantially, we are now able to expand who can get the tests,” he said.
“Our ultimate goal is that everyone who could benefit from a test gets a test.”