UK falls short of self-testing kits amid coronavirus wave

The United Kingdom witnessed a record high in daily COVID-19 cases reporting over 1,83,000 new coronavirus cases as British officials estimated that 90 per cent of all reported infections were community transmitted cases in England. 

Amid the rise in cases, there’s growing frustration over a lack of lateral flow tests in the country as thousands have lined up for the PCR tests at various centres. The short supply of self-test kits during the holiday week has now exacerbated the situation.

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“The issue that we have at the moment is that people are going into pharmacies to collect the lateral flow tests for which they have generated a code online, and therefore they are unable to access those lateral flow tests because we simply don’t have them,” Thorrun Govind, pharmacist and the chair of the royal pharmaceutical society’s English pharmacy board, said.

The continuous COVID-19 surge has translated into more people ending up in hospitals with over 10,000 people hospitalised for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 patients is up by 48 per cent from last week and it is the highest number of admissions since March 1. 

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The British government has now asked hospitals to identify sites for setting up about 4,000 emergency beds to deal with the virus wave.

However, the New Year celebrations are set to go on but PM Boris Johnson has urged people not to indulge in New Year celebrations and to be careful.

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“I have talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90 per cent of people in intensive care who are not boosted, if you’re not vaccinated, you’re eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether,” the British PM told citizens.

Meanwhile, Germany decided to lift travel restrictions on the virus-hit countries from early January. Travellers coming in from high-risk countries would now have to show negative tests on arrival even as German officials say the coronavirus cases are set to rise in the weeks ahead.  

(With inputs from Agencies)

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