Londoners expressed their frustrations about testing shortfalls as they queued outside a COVID-19 testing centre in Enfield on Friday.
One man hoping to get a walk-in test described the online booking system as “totally and utterly useless,” complaining that “You cannot get a test for love nor money.”
Another visitor voiced similar sentiments, saying that the “problem is within the government. They need to be well organised and provide more testing centres.”
The limited number of walk-in tests available was also highlighted by one local woman, who explained that “Not everyone is going to be able to get seen today because they’ve only got a certain amount of people for walk-ins and the rest is for booking only.”
“All of these people that come early, half of them won’t get it,” she added.
The UK has been experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, amid growing fears of a second wave, with the government imposing a wave of new restrictions in north-eastern England on Thursday.
On Thursday the head of the UK’s test-and-trace programme, Dido Harding, gave evidence to parliamentarians where she admitted that there “is significantly more demand than there is capacity today.”
“The number of people calling 119 [NHS COVID-19 telephone number] and visiting the website would be three to four times the number of tests that we currently have available but there will be some double counting in that,” she added.
The UK currently has the capacity to process 242,000 tests a day, a figure which it is hoping to more than double to 500,000 a day by the end of October, according to Harding.
On Thursday the UK reported a further 3,395 confirmed coronavirus cases, as well as 21 more related deaths.