Testing fiasco in Devon: a mother writes to Johnson

As this economical-with-the-truth government continues to claim that testing is working fine, the facts on the ground tell a completely different story. Here is a message for our Prime Minister from a Devon mum with young kids, caught up in the testing chaos.

Dear Prime Minister, This is what your handling of the pandemic is doing. This is my 4 year old son. Back to school last week, as instructed by you, then he started having a high temperature last night. Here he is sitting in the car at a drive-through test centre, where we have just been refused his test. Neither he, nor my daughter, can go back to school until he has been tested and he has a negative result. The rest of both their classes, and their families, may also be at risk but they aren’t being sent home because there is no confirmed case.

Yesterday, we had been told by several people that we could book a test for anywhere then use the code at our local test centre. When we arrived here this morning, we were told that this had been the case until yesterday. But from today, you can only have a test in the centre where you are booked. Our test was booked for Swansea but we live 3-4 hours away in Exeter. They have told us that our result would come through as being in Swansea, which would skew the national results. Of course, no-one in Exeter can actually book a local test so this itself is skewing the national result because there are no genuine figures as to cases in my local area.

If we decided to take our sick 4 year old to Wales today for a test, that too would skew the result because his case would come up as that location, so why does the website let us book so far anyway? Meanwhile, we would also potentially infect other people at service stations where we would inevitably have to stop for the toilet. The poor staff here have advised us to sit in the car park and call 119, so I am in a phone queue whilst my husband keeps refreshing the online system.

Your country is absolutely shambolic. And my children are suffering because of it. The anger this fills me with is more than I can put into words. Hang your head in shame.

Editor: As an aside, I wonder what the Welsh government feels about having their Covid-19 numbers distorted by out-of-catchment testing?