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Home Uncategorized NHS staff finally get tests at Chessington theme park after site deserted

NHS staff finally get tests at Chessington theme park after site deserted

NHS workers are finally getting their coronavirus swabs at a repurposed theme park after the government came under fire for slow testing rates.

The site was pictured completely deserted yesterday, adding fuel to outrage over the lag in testing of frontline health workers who are risking their lives to fight the pandemic.

Queues have built-up outside the temporary drive-through station at Chessington World of Adventures in Greater London, which has been transformed into a Covid-19 testing site.

NHS workers have told of being turned away after queueing because they didn’t have an appointment.

The furious health workers demanded the rules be scrapped, pointing out many were travelling to get tested when they could, between exhausting shifts.

NHS staff at Chessington carry out Covid-19 testing

The theme park attraction is usually busy with visitors (Image: LightRocket via Getty Images)

Scenes of a deserted Chessington embarrassed the government yesterday, as a testing facility at Wembley was pictured swamped.

The government earlier today admitted its testing regime does not go far enough after days of anger at the slow progress on checks for Covid-19.

This afternoon it was revealed that the UK’s death toll has increased to 2,921 after 569 more patients died in just 24 hours – the highest day-on-day increase since the Covd-19 outbreak began.

The previous total was 2,352 after a rise of 563.

A sign details the instructions for the drive-through tests (Image: Humphrey Nemar/ dailystar)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman today accepted “we need to make progress very quickly”.

Downing Street said Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce a “significant increase in testing” later on, likely at the daily press conference this afternoon.

The PM’s spokesman told journalists: “We acknowledge that more needs to be done.

“We agree we need to be testing more people and to make progress very quickly.

“The Health Secretary will set out our plans for a significant increase in testing later on.”

Yesterday the government said 2,000 NHS staff had been tested for the virus.

NHS workers are being tested for the virus in Chessington’s zoo car park (Image: Humphrey Nemar/ dailystar)

But it is claimed more than 100,000 health workers are off sick or self-isolating, in a huge blow to the vital workforce.

Today Downing Street clarified that the number of NHS staff tested was higher than previously stated.

No10 said there were actually two strands of testing for NHS staff – drive-through tests like the one at Chessington, which have between them now tested 2,800 staff.

The figure did not include testing within NHS labs of frontline staff, and the PM’s office said those figures would be released later today.

The drive-through tests are carried out in the car park (Image: REUTERS)

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Coronavirus outbreak

It comes as the government also takes heat over a lack of protective gear for NHS staff.

The health workers have repeatedly warned there is not enough personsal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks to go around.

No10 said 5million aprons, 1million FFPE3 face masks, 6million surgical masks and 21million gloves had been distributed to staff recently.

Downing Street’s spokesman said there had been some distribution problems while the government dealt with a surge in demand, adding: “We are confident enough supply is now reaching the front line.”

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