UK says working hard to fix problems with COVID testing

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State of Health Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 21, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s health minister said on Tuesday that the government was working around the clock to fix what he said were “operational challenges” in the novel coronavirus testing system caused by a surge in demand.

“There are operational challenges and we’re working hard to fix them,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told parliament. “As we expand capacity further we are working round the clock to ensure everyone who needs a test can get a test.”

Hancock said there had been a sharp rise in people coming forward for tests, including those who were not eligible.

“As demand has risen, we are having to prioritise once again. I do not shirk from decisions about prioritisation. They are not always comfortable but they are important,” he said. “I do not rule out further steps to make sure our tests are used according to those priorities.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden