PCR ‘black hole’ as travellers’ tests from amber list countries are ‘disappearing’

Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests

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Britons were told the need for expensive PCR tests was greater than their purse strings. PCR tests are more effective at detecting Covid and the Government needs them to detect the emergence of new variants.

And while PCR tests certainly do all these things, it has now been revealed that the results of PCR tests are not passed on to Test and Trace.

In released Government data, Robert Boyle, a former chief strategist for British Airways, has identified a “black hole”.

The “black hole” represents 150,000 unregistered tests.

More than 40 percent of the tests taken by travellers from amber list countries are disappearing into this “black hole”.

READ MORE: Experts warn the cost of Covid tests is more than you thought

In effect, PCR test firms are not passing on travellers’ personal data to the Government.

This means that if one of these travellers, who followed the travel requirements, was part of a Covid outbreak, the Government would not be able to trace them.

Robert Boyle said: “Based on what we have seen from the testing data, I think we can add data management as another area where the system is failing dismally and seems to be in a state of disarray […]

“The data are being provided by the traveller in most cases but are disappearing into a test-provider black hole and is never being passed on to Test and Trace.”

PCR tests and the private firms behind them have been scrutinised particularly intently lately.

The exorbitant costs have been the main issue, with Britons paying the most out of all of Europe.

Whether the expensive tests are necessary has also been a point of contention for many Britons, with the Government saying they help detect new variants.

Already, there were reports that only a very small fractions of the tests were analysed by the Government.

Now Britons learnt that 40 percent of the tests do not even make it to Test and Trace.

PCR firms have a lot to answer for.

At the beginning of August, Health Secretary Sajid Javid asked that the cost of PCR tests be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

But price now seems to be the least of the PCR firms’ problems.

With the expensive tests under fire, the Government may wish to look at alternatives.

A team at the University of Birmingham has developed a new 10-minute tests that is “just as sensitive” in detecting the virus as PCR tests and detects low levels of Covid-19 – which lateral flow or antigen tests cannot,” The Telegraph reports.

While the implementation of such rapid tests at airports is still “in the future,” the news of their developments is good news for Britons and the Government.
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