BRADFORD residents have spoken of their frustration and anger at being unable to get a Covid-19 test amid ongoing booking problems across the country. 

The district is a ‘hotspot’ for the virus, with the infection rate among the highest in England. The latest Public Health England data shows that just over 510 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Bradford in the seven days to September 12. 

That’s the equivalent of 94.5 cases per 100,000 people, up from 77.6 in the previous week. Many readers have highlighted the difficulties they have faced - either not being able to get one at a test or being offered a slot at a centre miles away.

One woman claimed a slot in Islington had come up, while another said she had tried to get one for her young son, but to no avail.

She said: “I’ve tried twice to book a test for my son, who has a temperature, a slight cough and a runny nose. As I have health issues and my husband has work we need a test fast to make sure everyone is safe. 

"Each time I tried there was nothing at all, we drive too so could travel within reasonable distance. It’s such a shambles. How can they expect people to just isolate or use their own judgment when Covid-19 is such a deadly disease? What if I’m wrong and it isn’t a cold? I’m not a doctor, so it’s very scary.”

Another Bradford mum-of-three spoke of similar problems and eventually came across test slots in Nelson, Lancashire, which would have marked a huge round trip for her and her children. 

She said: “How are we going to get through this, if people are trying like myself and not having much luck to then give up, begs the question of how many are actually positive but we don’t know because we cant get tested.”

It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted that it might be “a matter of weeks” before the testing problems are resolved. He said there would be “prioritisation” of tests for people with acute clinical need and those in social care settings as he acknowledged “operational challenges” in the system. 

But, he said he was “optimistic” about the development of technology which would allow testing to be made available at pharmacies and GP surgeries when asked if they could be part of the solution.

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The well-documented problems people have in accessing Covid-19 tests through the national system and the capacity issues in processing tests in laboratories is causing a significant knock-on for local authorities. 

"We are best placed to understand and work with the needs of our communities on local testing and contact tracing. 

"The only way we’re going to beat this virus is by further strengthening our local activity but it is no good if the national test and trace system is letting the side down. 

"We are at a critical time. As we head towards winter, and with infection rates rising across the country, it has never been clearer that we all need to work together – Government, councils and local partners, and the public. 

“We must not become complacent or think that the situation is returning to normal. We must make sure our systems and behaviours are as effective as possible in limiting the spread of infection; helping people to stay healthy; and supporting a safe economic recovery by reducing the risk of a return to full lockdown. #

"I urge everyone – regardless of where you are in the district – to do the right thing, continue to follow the Government’s guidelines so that we can contain the virus, save lives and prevent further restrictions on our district. 
"Those people who were shielding earlier in the year should still be very cautious. 

“Regular hand-washing, wearing a face covering indoors and keeping two metres apart from each other are all fundamental to combating this virus and protecting our loved ones.”