With the rise in Covid cases and the new Omicron variant, people across Bradford have been struggling to get their hands on PCR and Lateral Flow Covid tests.

The latest figures for Bradford show that 116,581 positive cases had been recorded on January 7, 2022, rising by 1,348 from the previous day.

We asked T&A readers if they were able to get PCR’s and Lateral Flows, with PCR’s having more emphasis due to the previous travel guidance.

A reader, who had an emergency flight booked, was unable to book a test anywhere in West Yorkshire and was forced to drive to Wolverhampton in order to get a Fit to Fly test that was required under government guidelines.

When booking a PCR test, one reader found that her closest centre was Lancaster, with no other options.

Another reader who was looking for a PCR test commented: “Nearest drive-thru 36 and 55 miles and nearest walk-on the other side of Leeds and no home kits available.”

Bradford Council oversees supplying the district with PCR and Lateral Flow tests; appointments for free PCR tests for those with symptoms can be booked through the Councils’ website.

Whilst the council is urging people to book PCR tests via the website there are a limited number of appointments, meaning not everyone who needs a PCR test is able to get it.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We are aware that there have been challenges in accessing PCR tests; this is due to online bookings portal closing once the laboratory capacity for processing tests has been reached for that day and is a national issue.

“All PCR tests must be booked through the online system. We would urge people to keep trying on the NHS website as appointments for PCR tests are released during the day and evening. On the booking site, you can also request a home PCR test kit to be delivered."

Several readers highlighted that they were able to get PCR tests without a booking and were offered the test on a walk-in basis.

A reader commented: “Centenary Square is just walk in you don't need to book I don't think a lot of people know that.”

The main PCR testing sites in Bradford are Centenary Square, Bradford and Victoria Hall, Keighley.

As more people are testing themselves frequently, there has been a shortage in Lateral Flow kits with some people ordering test kits in-store via the NHS App and pharmacies not having any in stock upon arrival.

A Council spokesperson added: “Government guidance is changing from 11 January. People who receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

“This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.

“Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops one of the three main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative LFD test – these rules have not changed.

“Under this new approach, anyone who receives a positive LFD test result should report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test. After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced and must continue to self-isolate.

“However, people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) do still need to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, to enable them to access financial support.

“This new approach should mean that there will be more capacity for people who do need a PCR test to be able to get one in the district."

All the options for accessing PCR testing in Bradford district can be found at - https://www.bradford.gov.uk/health/health-advice-and-support/coronavirus-testing-in-bradford-district/