Telford gridlocked after Covid booking system sends hundreds to town

Noble Horvath

Hundreds of people from across the UK have flocked to Telford in a bid to get tested for coronavirus – causing gridlock in the Shropshire town. Tests quickly ran out at the testing centre following a glitch in the booking system – which directed people from as far as Cornwall, […]

Hundreds of people from across the UK have flocked to Telford in a bid to get tested for coronavirus – causing gridlock in the Shropshire town.

Tests quickly ran out at the testing centre following a glitch in the booking system – which directed people from as far as Cornwall, London and elsewhere to the testing site, according to Conservative MP Lucy Allan.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to examine the cause of the error and added that the Government is examining the broader problem which has seen people get sent “too far” to get a test.

Ms Allan praised the Government’s progress on expanding testing capacity and thanked Mr Hancock for his “tireless” work, when she spoke in the House of Commons.

However, she added: “Inevitably this is not without its challenges.

“On Tuesday evening, hundreds of cars from across the country – and I mean hundreds – descended on Telford and its testing site as directed by the booking system.

“Tests quickly ran out, roads were blocked, people who had travelled from as far away as Cornwall, Stockport and London were turned away, and my constituents were no longer able to access tests in the area – and they in turn were sent elsewhere.”

She then asked the health secretary: “What assurances can (Mr Hancock) give that the error in the booking system that directed so many people to come to Telford has now been corrected, and does he agree that people should not be criss-crossing the country and travelling for many hours to secure a test?”

He replied: “Yes, I absolutely do. I agree with (Ms Allan) and her description of the situation, which is we have built this system at great pace.”

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