South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has told the UK and Scottish Governments to “get a grip” over Covid testing after a number of constituents in Dumfries and Galloway contacted the local MSP to complain they have been unable to book a PCR test in the region.

Constituents in Lockerbie using the Government online booking system to book tests today were told to drive 41 miles to Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Those in Dumfries were told they could only get a test if they went to Carlisle airport and constituents in Stranraer were told there were no drive in or walk in tests available. When booking they were all informed there were no home testing kits to order online.

Colin Smyth said, “As we head towards Hogmanay, both UK and Scottish Government Ministers have been queuing up to tell everyone to get a test before meeting but they have utterly failed to deliver the capacity needed to meet the demand their actions are generating.

“I’ve been contacted by constituents with Covid symptoms living across every part of Dumfries and Galloway who have been unable to do what the Government ask them to and that’s book a PCR test. It seems there were no PCR test appointments available to those constituents anywhere in the region through the online Government system and home testing kits were also unavailable to order. It is completely unreasonable to tell people to get a test if they have symptoms but if they live in Lockerbie they need to go to Hawick or those in Dumfries have to travel to England or worse still in the west of the region they just can’t get a test.

“It beggars belief that both Governments could not have predicted that their actions in the run to New Year would result in more people seeking testing, which is the responsible thing to do, but then fail to make this possible.

“The UK and Scottish Government need to get a grip because with covid cases rising, more and more people will require tests. It’s nearly two years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the key message in the fight against Covid was test, test, test yet both Governments have simply not done enough to put in place the testing regime we need”

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