Lab Issue Causes 1,300 False Positive COVID Tests In UK


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More than 1,300 people in the U.K. were wrongly told that they tested positive for COVID-19 after a lab error at the government’s NHS Test and Trace System, Reuters reports.

“NHS Test and Trace has contacted 1,311 individuals who were incorrectly told that the result of COVID-19 tests, taken between Nov. 19 and Nov. 23, were positive. An issue with a batch of testing chemicals meant their test results were void,” a department spokesman told Reuters in a statement.

“Swift action was taken to notify those affected and they have been asked to take another test, and to continue to self-isolate if they have symptoms,” the statement continued.

The statement said the testing issue was an “isolated incident” and it is under investigation, Reuters reported.

UK testing error wrongly tells 1,300 people they have coronavirus https://t.co/mTHB4Bg3CX pic.twitter.com/ProWdXcd1k

— Reuters (@Reuters) November 28, 2020

Duncan Lacomb, a public relations director in Britain, told the BBC that his daughter was one of the 1,311 people who received incorrect test results. Lacomb said it “brings into question for me whether or not this testing system is competent.”

“The entire economy is relying on the competence of the testing laboratories and if they are not doing their job they need to be held to account,” he said.

The NHS Test and Trace System, which announced an additional 7 billion pounds ($9.31 billion USD), for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, has been criticized for some highly visible failures, Reuters reported. Nearly 16,000 cases were lost for several days in September, causing a delay in the system. The government said its filing systems caused the error. (RELATED: ‘Technical Issue’ To Blame For 16,000 Unreported COVID-19 Cases, British Authorities Say)

There have been 1,574,566 reported COVID-19 cases and 57,031 confirmed deaths in the country as of Nov. 28, according to the World Health Organization.

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