MP fears UK will "lose control of virus completely" if testing system is not improved

16 September 2020, 18:16 | Updated: 16 September 2020, 22:13

By Fiona Jones

As Welsh region Rhondda is locked down, the local MP reveals his constituents have previously been told to go to Aberdeen to get a test - he fears "we will lose control of the virus completely" unless the testing issue is sorted.

A local lockdown has been introduced in Rhondda Cynon Taf, a region of south Wales, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

From 6pm on Thursday, people will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse, and licensed premises will have to close at 11pm.

People will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being and will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said they will impose the same measures "which seem to be working" in locked down Welsh region Caerphilly.

Mr Bryant attributed the rise in cases to "large groups of people" going to their caravans and mixing many households and also people ignoring social distancing in pubs.

MP fears UK will "lose control of virus completely" if testing system is not improved
MP fears UK will "lose control of virus completely" if testing system is not improved. Picture: PA/LBC

He continued: "We do have one other very specific problem and I've been trying to work very hard with Matt Hancock.

"The UK Government is in charge of the testing and with Vaughan Gething in charge of the tracing, we've had local people being told that the only available test is in Aberdeen or Aberystwyth, which is obviously a long way from The Rhondda.

Read more: Caller told to travel 341 miles for a Covid-19 test leaving Nick Ferrari in disbelief

"We have one of the highest levels of no car ownership of any constituency in the UK so that's a real problem," Mr Bryant said.

When The Rhondda was able to get a test centre the Government "decided to impose a cap of only 60 tests a day" which means "lots and lots of people are not getting a test fast enough and not getting it returned fast enough," he told Eddie, branding this a "real problem for tracing."

"My big anxiety across the whole of the UK is if we don't get this testing right we will lose control of the virus completely," the MP said.

This concern on tests comes after LBC's Westminster Correspondent found in an investigation that no coronavirus tests were available in England's top ten hotspots.

The following day, LBC found that only 2 out of the 48 places on Public Health England's watchlist had test availability.

Read more: Testing, testing...Govt announces urgent review after LBC probe