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The Government has been told it must act swiftly to help prevent the spread of coronavirus on the Isle of Wight following reports of people travelling on and off the Island for a COVID-19 test.

The Isle of Wight Council says it is unacceptable that people struggling to book a test, either at the testing site at Newclose Cricket Ground or via post, are being offered alternative appointments that require them to travel to and from the mainland for a swab.

With people being offered slots at venues up to 75 miles away, the council has called on the government to adjust the national appointment system to take account of the Island’s unique circumstances.

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Council leader Dave Stewart said:

“The Island has not been immune from the national challenges with the test and trace programme and we have seen reductions in the number of appointments available at our testing facility with people being offered alternative slots at venues many miles away.

“We are also seeing some people on the mainland being directed to the Isle of Wight for tests.

“This is not good as it means people are being expected to travel on ferries — in contravention of clear government guidance about using public transport while seeking a Covid-19 test — thereby putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk. This is unacceptable.

“I want to reassure residents that we, working closely with our MP, are in dialogue with senior health officials and have urged them to adjust the national appointment system to take account of our unique circumstances as quickly as possible.”

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As a result of these national pressures, the council said the Island had seen a significant increase in calls to NHS 111 from people wanting to book a Covid-19 test.

This approach does not give anyone access to the booking system for a Covid-19 test, it does however, tie up the call handlers that need to be available for people requiring other medical assistance.

Councillor Stewart added:

“I also understand that some people are also calling the cricket ground directly, again this does not give them access to the appointments system for a test.

“Please only book a test by calling 119 or going online via nhs.uk/coronavirus.”

Simon Bryant, the council’s director of public health, said appointments for tests were made available on a daily basis; the evening before for the following morning and the morning before for later in the day. He said:

“Therefore do not think that because there is no availability when you call or go online that means no availability at all for the foreseeable future. So please keep trying to get the test you need.

“Residents should not travel to mainland testing sites when symptomatic. There should be sufficient test availability for you to be tested here and if the system only offers a mainland testing site, please retry or request a home test.

“Of most importance is to only book a test if you have the symptoms of the coronavirus (high temperature, new, persistent cough and/or loss of taste and smell); this is when the current type of test is most effective.

“A test at any time will only be as good as the day it is taken and it is not a predictor of future wellbeing.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Karn Evil 9

Whats UNACCEPTABLE is “Pugwash” Stewart let the holidaymakers over here too soon. Him and Seely need kicking out, most islanders, if not all, are sick and tired of the council making such stupid statements about what can be done about the covid-19 situation. If the council had stopped the ferries and not sided with the tourist board none of this would be happening now. Thanks Council, Seely and the goons in charge.  

Mad Benny

His bestie on the Council would have lost business if the holiday trade was limited.
As apparently struggling so hard now has to pay some staff cash in hand now to keep wages bill low. So couldn’t ruin his chance of dipping out on hundreds of thousands more profit in private concerns if the tourists were limited in numbers.

Spinal tap

Idiot .


and again, nothing will get done.


It can be done, we just don’t vote Seely in again! Throughout this pandemic he has had ‘other’ interests at heart – certainly not the Islanders!


Right if you think you got symptoms, hang it out for afew days indoors until a test is available perhaps ? Yes you might lose acouple of days pay but if full lock down comes again it will be far worse for us all financially. How about actually putting systems that could work in towns. Some examples being one way on pavements. Meaning you have to cross the road to head the opposite way. Another pedestrianise highstreets only between 10am -6pm…our narrow side walks werent designed for social distancing. Giving move room to aviod others. The alternative shortly will be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by TONY
Get the tori’s out

But perfectly acceptable for them to give them selves £200 pay increase pmsl. They didn’t do the cuts that’s why the tori’s are now kicking off. No it’s not acceptable. Don’t know why they are kicking off if they need to travel it’s ok as we have to pay for them. Tori scum

Spinal tap

It’s people like you that are the scum .


I’m well ready for the laughing policeman now


So much for the Island being recognized for helping with the App, empty promises again. The only good thing to come out of all this is that many more of the electorate are recognising political spin, to put it mildly


The islands a complete joke nothing gets done about anything. The roads get repaired and break immediately with holes and cracks appearing . The police are just people wearing uniforms they do nothing about anything.they take easy options like pretending people have no insurance over and over to seize perfectly legal cars. But yet they can let a nonse wonder around where he wants in supervised and all you keyboard warriors need to shit up or do something about it. Your all a joke too and pathetic get a life and live your own.the covid tests over here are mainly… Read more »


The Council call this unacceptable, well i call their disgraceful pay rises unacceptable, but as usual, nothing will get done.


Talk is cheap. Funding lying councillors and MP’s isn’t.


In Ryde today I saw a coach pull up outside of Weatherspoons at about 10.30am, the driver didn’t have a mask on or a screen, then to my horror, as the passenger started to get off, not one had a mask on, one did have a mask attached to his wrist, do the rules not apply to day trippers from Wales. Just hope our numbers don’t go up again, through ignorant people like this.

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