Thousands travel 50 miles or more for a covid tests

How do you get there without a car?

Thousands of English people are having to travel long distances to receive coronavirus tests, new government data shows.

The data shows that 25% of those tested last week had to travel more than 13 miles; 10% had to travel more than 28 miles and 5% faced journies of 48 miles or more. These distances are measured as the crow flies and so the real distance travelled is likely to be longer.

Around 200,000 people are tested each week, so many thousands are having to travel long distances for a test. As these people may have coronavirus, they are advised not to travel by public transport, leaving the roughly 20% of households which don’t have a car struggling to access testing at all.

One couple in Bolton were reportedly told to travel 90 miles into Wales to get a test and Cambridge residents have been told to go to Birmingham, Heathrow or Bradford.

Labour’s deputy leader raised this issue at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. “The next time a man with Covid symptoms drives from London to Durham, it’ll probably be for the nearest Covid test,” she said.

The median (average) distance travelled for a test was 5.8 miles. These new figures only measure how far people came who actually took a test. They don’t include all the people who were offered a test far away and decided not to take it.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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