Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Almost 30,000 Brits had to be retested after tests sent to US 'voided'
4 June 2020, 06:11
Almost 30,000 coronavirus tests have had to be redone after swabs which were sent to America were 'voided' due to an error with the way they had been handled.
The Daily Telegraph reported that 67,000 coronavirus tests were sent to the USA due to a lab in Northern Ireland reaching its capacity.
Ministers admitted that of the tests` sent to the American lab 29,500 were "voided" with part of the problem relating to different equipment standards in the US.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed that the tests were voided on their return to the UK, meaning those people needed to be tested again.
"We worked hard to get complete tests for people under difficult circumstances. In many cases that worked and we are grateful for the team for their efforts.
"But in some cases it didn't, and the correct judgment was made to void the tests," the spokeswoman said.
"Everyone affected was offered a new test immediately and we worked quickly to restore full capacity in the UK."
The Telegraph report said part of the problem could relate to the different standards of equipment used in the US.
The DHSC spokeswoman added that sending swabs overseas was one of the contingencies in place to deal with any problems arising from the nation's Lighthouse test processing network.
They also said the US laboratory has not been used for further surge capacity since.