BORIS promised us a “world-beating” Covid-19 testing system, but what we have is a coronavirus cock-up of truly epic proportions.
Too many testing centres stand empty, populated only by bored souls in hi-viz jackets — at Heathrow one of them was seen taking a refreshing nap — while other centres are overwhelmed by demand.
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There are nearly 400 testing centres across the UK but booking an appointment online is often impossible. A father in Peterborough was told at his sleepy local testing centre that he should take his two small children to Aberdeen for testing as he hadn’t booked a test online. He bloody tried!
And all the tests in the world are totally worthless without the laboratory capacity to process them. But British labs are now so overwhelmed that tests are being sent to Italy and Germany for processing.
With ten million Brits already in local lockdown, and more to come next week, our testing system is not simply broken.
This is the greatest national humiliation since Suez. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told us to get tested if in any doubt. But winter is coming and very soon millions of us will catch coughs and colds.
And this year those sniffles, snuffles and persistent coughs will be a bit different.
For how do you know if you have just got a touch of the seasonal sniffles and not Covid-19?
If you can’t get a test — and the result processed — you don’t.
Baroness Harding, NHS testing chief, says that there is chaos because demand has soared. But with schools opening, parents back at work and people returning from holiday, demand was inevitably going to soar.
What else could have happened?
The Government and its advisers seem more preoccupied with being shamed and blamed in some future coronavirus inquiry than they do with getting the country up and running again.
Already, over 740 schools have shut or sent students home — sometimes entire year groups — after suspected outbreaks of coronavirus.
It might just have been Little Jimmy with a runny nose — but without swift, easy access to testing and processing, Little Jimmy gets packed off home.
And so do his classmates. So do the rest of his year.
And parents like you are prevented from earning a living wage because now the children are stuck at home again.
Mass testing would save us. We can’t wait for a vaccine. Our battered economy doesn’t have the time to wait for a vaccine. Our children — so many of them already denied so much of their education — don’t have time to wait for a vaccine.
A second nationwide lockdown is not an option.
The country can’t afford it. Sun readers can’t afford it. Boris Johnson can’t afford it.
Oh, Boris — your country still desperately wants you to succeed!
Don’t tell people they are wasting time going for a test — they are simply trying to fulfil their civic duty.
But that means testing, testing, testing. And then — crucially — enough labs, machines and technicians for processing, processing, processing.
Or the only light at the end of this long, dark tunnel will turn out to be an oncoming train.
Great Scott’s a good Match
EX-FOOTBALLER Alex Scott is favourite to replace Sue Barker as host of A Question Of Sport.
Alex is supremely qualified for the gig – a degree in sports journalism, 140 England caps, Olympian, plus the celebrity glow that comes from a successful Strictly. You have to feel sorry for Sue Barker. The BBC’s belief in diversity does not stretch to 64-year-old middle class white ladies – come on, the BBC’s not that diverse! But Alex Scott is undeniably a brilliant broadcaster.
In fact, Alex is good enough to present that other stalwart of BBC sport, Match Of The Day.
What’s the money like?
Bale back without the roar
WE like to tell ourselves that football is back – but it’s not really.
Without those baying stadia full of partisan fans going bonkers, English football inevitably loses a little of its magic dust.
The return of Gareth Bale to his old hunting ground of the Premier League proves the point. Bale’s departure on loan from Real Madrid to his old Spurs is truly momentous.
It is one of those transfer moves that has the potential to change everything.
And what a shame that the drama will be played out against the backdrop of empty grounds.
Bale’s return to North London is the crowning glory of one of the most exciting transfer windows in the history of English football.
It deserved more than those awful pre-recorded soundtracks you get watching the football at home, the sporting equivalent of canned laughter.
Come back English football. Because you are not really back just yet.
I NEVER met an estate agent like the cast of Selling Sunset, the compelling Netflix hit about glam property pushers in LA.
Christine Quinn, one of the stars, shares a photo she did with Maxim Australia with her adoring 1.2million followers on Instagram. Christine is blinged up, bitchy and endlessly scheming, like a cross between Paris Hilton and Rasputin.
Interest rates are definitely soaring.
Bide your tongue
JOE Biden, doddery Democratic Presidential candidate, lectures the UK about peace in Northern Ireland, warning that any future US-UK trade deal “must be contingent on respect” for the Good Friday Agreement.
Biden is clearly confused.
Armed militia, cities on fire, a nation on the brink of violent anarchy – that’s not Great Britain or indeed Ireland.
Joe is thinking of America.
Arrogant Beeb has a death wish
ALL over the country, good businesses are going bankrupt, workers are taking reduced wages and mass unemployment is waiting.
But nothing derails the BBC gravy train!
Zoe Ball’s wages shot up by almost £1million despite her Radio 2 breakfast show haemorrhaging a million listeners. Nice work if you can get it. In the real world, failure on that scale would get you the boot.
How can the BBC be so lavishly generous with the public’s money? And how can the BBC spend so recklessly just as they scrap free TV licences for the over-75s?
The BBC is not paying the going rate. Its stars are raking in fortunes that they would never command anywhere else.
Greed, arrogance and a lack of self-awareness will do for the BBC, a corporation that so many of us grew up loving. The BBC must have a death wish.
Katy and Co should flee sewer
GWYNETH Paltrow, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian were among celebrities who froze their social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook in protest against the spread of “hate, propaganda and misinformation”.
A noble cause indeed. Social media is a sewer that operates with none of the legal constraints of a newspaper or broadcaster.
“I can’t sit idly by while these platforms turn a blind eye to groups and posts spreading hateful disinformation,” says Katy Perry.
But their boycott only lasted for 24 hours.
And these stars can make fortunes on social media.
Kim Kardashian has 188million followers on Instagram, and reportedly makes around £380,000 for every sponsored post.
If Kim, Katy and Gwyneth had quit Facebook and Instagram forever – now THAT would have been impressive.
And may even have done some real good.
Many happy tree-turns
A WACKY mum who married a tree has just celebrated her first wedding anniversary.
Katie Elder sees the tree in Rimrose Valley Country Park, Merseyside, just a few times every week and apparently, he never says much. You can see how that might work.
The Covid cop-outs must end
“WHAT a shambles,” says Sun reader Frank Seymour of Stockport, unable to get a face-to-face appointment with his GP.
“Too many are hiding behind the coronavirus crisis and the telephone personnel have a stock answer of, ‘It’s to do with the pandemic’.” No it isn’t.
Like Frank, I too have been fobbed off by what we can call the coronavirus cop-out.
I suspect a lot of the time that Frank and I are encountering people working from home they are neglecting the “working” bit. Working from home? More like just sitting around in their jim-jams.
The Queen, 94, has vowed that her first public appearance after lockdown will be at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. Who will dare hide behind the coronavirus cop-out after that?
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