Matt Hancock admits testing delays will take 'weeks' to solve

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Matt Hancock admits testing delays will take 'weeks' to solve

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that delays around testing will take ‘weeks’ to resolve.

Mr Hancock, appearing before the Commons Health Committee that the government was trying to solve the problem which is being caused with testing samples.

Earlier Sarah-Jane Marsh Director of Testing, NHS Test and Trace took to Twitter to apologise for the issues.

She said: “Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present. All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, its our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point. We are doing all we can to expand quickly.”

People have complained about being referred to testing centres more than a hundred miles from where they live.

Mr Hancock, questioned by Jeremy Hunt at the Health Select Committee on Tuesday said: “We’ve had a problem with a couple of contracts. It’s a matter of a couple of weeks until we can get all of that sorted in the short term, in the immediate term.

“We’re already put in certain solutions to ensure people don’t have to travel more than 75 miles. I appreciate 75 miles is far longer that you’d want to go, but the majority of tests are much closer.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also told a committee of MPs that the first “credible” cases of coronavirus reinfection were starting to be seen.

He told the Health Select Committee on Tuesday: “We have also just started to see the first credible cases of reinfection and through genomic analysis you can see it is a different disease to the one the person got the first time around.

“But in all the cases that I have seen it has been an asymptomatic second infection that has been picked up through asymptomatic testing.

“But the hard question is, because one of the most difficult parts of dealing with this virus is asymptomatic transmission what we don’t yet know is the transmissability, (sic) of the disease even from an asymptomatic person who might have had the disease before.

“But we have got a huge amount of work going into answering that question.”

Mr Hancock said that the long-term effects of coronavirus were not “very strongly correlated” with the severity of the infection.

He added: “This is not just about people who were hospitalised, in fact, and this is really relevant for now because the latest rise in the last few days has been largely among young people.

“But it doesn’t matter how serious your infection was first time initially, the impact of long Covid can be really debilitating for a long period of time, no matter if your initial illness wasn’t all that severe.”

When asked if there would be a campaign to educate people about the long-term effects of the virus, Mr Hancock said there were not “easy and clinically validated” treatments.

He added: “There is a challenge which is supporting people when actually there isn’t a readily available treatment.”

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