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The demand for Covid checks is up to four times the capacity of the system.


The demand for Covid tests is up to four times the capacity of the system, Baroness Harding admitted today.

The Tory peer revealed the amazing discrepancy between the number of people who want tests and the ability to have them, as they claimed 27 percent had no symptoms.

Extraordinary. She said no one "expected" the "sizeable" surge in demand – although it was widely predicted, and accused SAGE of getting its estimates wrong.

Lady Harding has been brought before MPs to explain the mess that has led thousands to be scrutinized.

She told the Science Committee that she didn't have an exact number of how many people wanted tests. But she said phone calls and website visits indicated that there are "three to four times as many tests as we have available".

"You will count on it twice," she added.

Lady Harding brazenly gave the money for the chaos, saying, "We have made our capacity plans based on SAGE modeling for what we should prepare for this fall."

Lady Harding confirmed the diagnostic test capacity is currently close to 243,000 a day – a figure the government hasn't released in over a week.

She said the government is on track to increase capacity to 500,000 tests per day by the end of October – although that would cover all types of tests, not just whether people are currently suffering from coronavirus.

And she admitted that it won't be enough. "I'm sure we will need more as we go past the end of October," she said.

Baroness Harding

Baroness Dido Harding (right) was barbecued by Science Committee Chair Greg Clark (left) and fellow MPs

Some test sites in Covid had long queues, like Southend-on-Sea, but others were abandoned even though people had difficulty getting examined

Some test sites in Covid had long queues, like Southend-on-Sea, but others were abandoned even though people had difficulty getting examined

Waiting times for Covid test results are increasing as the system struggles with demand

The percentage of people in England who received a personal Covid-19 test result within the government's 24-hour target period has bottomed since mid-June, new data shows.

Official NHS test and trace numbers also showed the weekly number of positive tests in England rose to its highest level since the system was introduced in late May.

About 33.3 percent of people who were tested for coronavirus in the week up to 9 September in England at a regional location, a local location or a mobile testing unit – a so-called "personal" test – received their result within 24 hours Hours.

That's the lowest percentage since the week ended June 17, when the number was 31.3 percent.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) on Thursday, the value of 33.3 percent has also fallen from 66.5 percent in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously promised that the results of all personal tests would be available within 24 hours by the end of June.

In the week leading up to September 9, a total of 18,371 new people tested positive for Covid-19 in England.

This is a 75 percent increase in positive cases over the previous week and the highest weekly number since Test and Trace started in late May.

There are fears that the country could go into a "lockdown" by default because people with mild symptoms cannot prove they are negative and must remain in quarantine.

Experts say maybe half a million people a day will develop Covid-like symptoms at this time of year, even during normal times. Hundreds of schools are already believed to be partially or completely closed as students and teachers have to self-isolate.

Lady Harding said patients, social care workers and NHS workers accounted for around half of the diagnostic tests available.

She said that in anticipation of the schools' return we have "planned a substantial increase in testing capacity".

"As the Prime Minister said yesterday, we obviously do not have enough testing capacity today and we are doing everything in our power to increase testing capacity."

But Mr. Clark told her that the surge in demand was "completely predictable":

“It is disheartening to find that we are now in September, under completely predictable circumstances – people are going back to school, people are going back to work – and we haven't established the proper capacity in the quieter periods of June, July and August August, ”he said.

The session came as new figures showed that the proportion of people in England who received a personal Covid-19 test result within the government's 24-hour target period has reached its lowest level since mid-June.

Official NHS test and trace numbers also showed the weekly number of positive tests in England rose to its highest level since the system was introduced in late May.

About 33.3 percent of people who were tested for coronavirus in the week leading up to September 9 in England at a regional location, a local location or a mobile test unit – a so-called "personal" test – received their result within 24 hours Hours.

That's the lowest percentage since the week ended June 17, when the number was 31.3 percent.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) on Thursday, the value of 33.3 percent has also fallen from 66.5 percent in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously promised that the results of all personal tests would be available within 24 hours by the end of June.

In the week leading up to September 9, a total of 18,371 new people tested positive for Covid-19 in England.

This is a 75 percent increase in positive cases over the previous week and the highest weekly number since Test and Trace started in late May.

Politicians have questioned why Lady Harding was appointed amid public turmoil over the national lack of Covid testing.

Pre-school rhinitis leads to an increase in test demand

Official numbers suggest that preschool-aged colds and coughs played a major role in the demise of the coronavirus testing system.

Details released today by the Ministry of Health show that government tests performed on children ages 5 to 9 in commercial laboratories rose 138 in early September, compared to a month earlier.

For 10 to 14 year olds, the numbers were even higher at 150 percent.

In contrast, the total number of tests in Pillar 2 only increased 29.1 percent.

The 52-year-old former TalkTalk performed alongside former Apple executive Simon Thompson, who was hired to run the contact tracing app project after the government abandoned an earlier attempt that was not working properly on iPhones.

It's the first chance in months that MPs Lady Harding will have a barbecue after the summer break.

Opposition MPs questioned the lack of apparent scrutiny over their role in Test and Trace and their appointment as head of Public Health England's successor, the National Institute for Health Protection.

Labor MP Barry Sheerman tweeted, "What has Dido Harding actually achieved since she was thrown into the House of Lords and (responsible) for Johnson's NHS Test and Trace program?"

Ian Lavery, Wansbeck's Labor MP, questioned the decision to hire them to do the testing and outsource testing centers to the private company Serco.

He said it was "the perfect ingredient for a messy disaster … where decent people pay the price".

Her appointment was controversial because her professional background was more in business than public health, and given her role as a civil servant, she refused to sit as a cross-bench peer rather than a Tory.

She was blamed for the government's first attempt to develop a contact tracking app, which was announced in April.

The £ 11 million app was abandoned after the government admitted it hadn't worked.

The replacement app with Google and Apple technology is set to roll out in England and Wales next week, months after similar apps were rolled out in other developed countries.

Baroness Harding was the managing director of telecommunications giant TalkTalk when hackers were able to access data associated with 157,000 customers, including bank account details.

The breach cost the company an estimated £ 77 million, including a record £ 400,000 fine imposed by the Information Commissioner's office.

ANDREW PIERCE: The test fiasco threatens to close hundreds of schools … so where on earth was Dido Harding?

Dido Harding goes to 10 Downing Street on September 16

Dido Harding goes to 10 Downing Street on September 16

By Andrew Pierce for the Daily Mail

As the test fiasco threatens to close hundreds of schools, the deafening question is: What is Test-and-Trace Tsarina Baroness Harding doing about the crisis?

There was hardly a trace of her. The former businesswoman, who was named in a public relations fire in May, appears to have largely gotten out of hand.

She was seen on Downing Street yesterday, but she was not seen in television studios or seen on our radio waves to explain what went wrong. Instead, she left Health Secretary Matt Hancock to face the flak.

Humiliatingly, six months after the pandemic, Hancock had to admit yesterday that Covid tests need to be rationed to the general public to ensure frontline workers can get a test along with nursing home residents.

This is despite Boris Johnson's commitment in June to promise "world's best" service, with all test results flipped within 24 hours. The testing crisis dominated the Prime Minister's questions yesterday. Still, Harding kept her head under the parapet and avoided interview requests.

She hasn't said anything about testing on Twitter since July.

"She's a cross between the Scarlet Pimpernel and Macavity, the cat who was never there when there were problems," said an angry Whitehall source. "The test and trace system implodes, but the baroness is silent."

Although more and more Tory MPs are criticizing the test system, Harding has so far taken the chance to defend it in the House of Lords, to which she was appointed in 2014. In fact, she has not spoken in the House of Lords since March 24th, when she spoke about Covid for four minutes, emphasizing the importance of expanding testing capacity.

The omens for her tenure as test and trace czar were hardly favorable. One of their first actions in July was to remove a table showing the UK's progress on major coronavirus tests based on the daily Downing Street briefings. Around the same time, the much-touted NHS test and trace app was delayed because the technology wasn't up to date.

Humiliatingly, six months after the pandemic, Hancock had to admit yesterday that Covid tests need to be rationed to the general public to ensure frontline workers can get a test along with nursing home residents

Humiliatingly, six months after the pandemic, Hancock had to admit yesterday that Covid tests need to be rationed to the general public to ensure frontline workers can get a test along with nursing home residents

That same month, Harding, who has no scientific background, appeared disastrously before the Commons Health Committee when she refused to say what proportion of the tests were completed within the 24-hour period promised by the Prime Minister. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the committee, couldn't hide his anger at her refusal to answer questions. "You are telling me that you actually don't know how many tests come back in a 24 hour period and that you are responsible for the NHS testing and tracking," he said.

Since the bloody encounter, Harding seems to have withdrawn from the public. However, this does not mean that it is less influential in government circles.

In August, when the government announced it was cutting Public Health England, it emerged that Baroness Harding – an Oxford contemporary of David Cameron – would head the agency it replaces, the National Institute for Health Protection. Interestingly, she is married to Tory MP John Penrose who is on the board of the think tank & # 39; 1828 & # 39; is that has called for the abolition of Public Health England.

"Dido Harding locked himself in the old Public Health England building where the new National Institute was built," claims the Whitehall source. "The real priority should be to test yourself, but we can't get her out of hiding."

Baroness Dido Harding at a press conference on Downing Street in July

Baroness Dido Harding at a press conference on Downing Street in July

Harding, a former jockey, is also on the board of directors of the Jockey Club, known to host the Cheltenham Festival and draw 250,000 people when bans went into effect worldwide

Harding, a former jockey, is also on the board of directors of the Jockey Club, known to host the Cheltenham Festival and draw 250,000 people when bans went into effect worldwide

While Harding was CEO of TalkTalk in 2015, the company suffered one of the largest data breaches in commercial history when the private data of 4 million customers was hacked. That year she received £ 2.8 million, an increase of £ 1 million over the previous year. Despite being asked to resign, she stayed at the helm until 2017.

She then moved to NHS Improvement, an organization that oversees NHS trusts, for which she received £ 62,000 for a three-day week. In reviewing her appointment, the Commons Health Committee noted her "total lack of experience" on health matters.

Harding, a former jockey, is also on the board of directors of the Jockey Club, known to host the Cheltenham Festival and draw 250,000 people when bans went into effect worldwide.

The granddaughter of Field Marshal Lord Harding, who became the oldest soldier in the British Army, grew up on a pig farm in Somerset and attended St. Antony & # 39; s Leweston Catholic private school. In a 2015 interview, she admitted, “I have an extremely privileged position. I make a lot of money – a matter that is publicly known – I have a lot of help and more control over the day and my work than someone who works at the till. & # 39;

As she faces a select committee today, she may explain why she lost control of the test and trace system.

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