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COVID Testing Lab in UK Suspended as Over 40,000 People May Have Received Wrong Results

© AP Photo / Nati HarnikA nurse prepares to administer a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 antigen, at a testing site affiliated with the Methodist Health System, in Omaha, Neb., Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A nurse prepares to administer a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 antigen, at a testing site affiliated with the Methodist Health System, in Omaha, Neb., Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.10.2021
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In mid-September, reports cited observers of COVID-19 data voicing concerns over unusually quick dropping of case numbers in the South-West, while people were increasingly getting a positive lateral flow test followed by a negative PCR.
According to the UK's National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace, an estimated 43,000 people, mostly in South-West England but also including some in the South-East and Wales, may have been given an incorrect COVID-19 test result at the Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton.
The samples had been processed beween 8 September and 12 October. Operations at the laboratory have been suspended after an investigation revealed the apparent error.
© TOBY MELVILLEFILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London
FILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.10.2021
FILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London
Individuals who tested negative through the lab in the past week or two will now be contacted by Test and Trace and advised to take another test. The same advice applies to the individuals' close contacts who are symptomatic.
A probe had been initiated by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) after reports last week pointed to a growing number of people at the lab, awarded a £120million government deal in November 2020 to carry out PCR tests, testing negative after earlier receiving a positive lateral flow result.
The UK Health Security Agency insisted there are "no technical issues" with the lateral flow or PCR tests. Allaying concerns, it said other labs are "working normally". The development was described as an "isolated incident attributed to one laboratory".
Public health incident director at the UKHSA, Dr Will Welfare, was cited as saying:
"We have recently seen a rising number of positive LFD results subsequently testing negative on PCR... If you get a positive LFD test, it's important to make sure that you then get a follow-up PCR test to confirm you have COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and take a PCR test."
CEO of Immensa Health Clinic Ltd, Andrea Riposati said:
"We are fully collaborating with UKHSA on this matter. Quality is paramount for us. We have proudly analysed more than 2.5M samples for NHS Test and Trace, working closely with the great teams at DHSC and UKHSA. We do not wish this matter or anything else to tarnish the amazing work done by the UK in this pandemic."
The developments come as fully vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK from countries not on the red list have been allowed, as of 24 October, to take the both quicker and cheaper lateral flow test, allowing them to subsequently take a photo of their test and send it to prove they are negative.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was cited by Sky News as urging "honesty" from passengers, while describing the test and verification procedure as "straightforward and pretty quick to do".
© REUTERS / PETER NICHOLLSA worker sanitises a sign at the International arrivals area of Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow Airport, Britain, August 2, 2021
A worker sanitises a sign at the International arrivals area of Terminal 5 in London's  Heathrow Airport, Britain, August 2, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.10.2021
A worker sanitises a sign at the International arrivals area of Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow Airport, Britain, August 2, 2021
Arriving individuals who had not yet received their COVID-19 jabs will still be required to take a PCR test on the second day after entering the UK and quarantine for 10 days at home.
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