Ambulance service ask people to stop calling 999 for COVID-19 test kits



The ambulance service that serves communities in Staffordshire is asking people to stop contacting them for COVID-19 test kits.

West Midlands Ambulance Service say people have been calling 999, the emergency number, in an effort to get tested for coronavirus.

Paramedics do not carry tests for the virus – which has been declared a pandemic with more than one million cases reported worldwide.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said:  “A polite reminder, our staff do not carry COVID-19 test kits, so please stop calling 999 for one.”

Anyone who believes they have coronavirus should not attend a GP, surgery, pharmacy or hospital  or leave their homes for any reason- according to guidance on the NHS website.

Those who believe they are infected should self-isolate and visit the NHS’s dedicated COVID-19 website here – and 111 should only be called if relevant help cannot be found there.

Work to increase the number of tests taking place across the country continues.

Downing Street has this afternoon confirmed that the target of carrying out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day applied to the whole of the UK – and not just England, as the Government had set out on Thursday.

The statement confirms what Health Secretary Matt Hancock had told reporters during interviews at the opening of NHS Nightingale in east London.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think the Health Secretary has been asked about this and has set out that it is UK wide.”

The Number 10 spokesman said Boris Johnson’s target of achieving 250,000 daily tests still stood as the “overall” aim.

“The Health Secretary was asked this last night and said he didn’t step back from that,” the PM’s spokesman said.

“It is an overall target. The 100,000 relates to the period to the end of April.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said “surveillance” of the population to determine the spread of coronavirus was ongoing, with 3,500 antibody tests carried out per week.

“This is a population surveillance programme which we have been carrying out since February,” said the spokesman.

“It is being done by Public Health England at their campus which is at Porton Down.

“We currently have capacity for 3,500 of these surveillance tests to be carried out this week which is enough for small-scale population sampling.”

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