Breaking Exclusive

Testing centre chaos and long delays as Liverpool’s city-wide coronavirus programme launches

Half-hour slots meaningless as system fails to cope with numbers, and no separation of ‘walk-ins’ and pre-booked appointments leads to waits of hours for tests that will take days to yield results

After a quiet start this morning, at least one testing centre was overwhelmed today as Liverpool began its city-wide coronavirus testing pilot.

Local councillors reported that centres were ‘very quiet’ in the first couple of hours they were open, but by this afternoon local people were standing in long queues for hours – in fortunately fine, if chilly, weather.

The government’s coronavirus test appointment page was allocating appointments in half-hour slots and strictly warned those who booked that they must arrive on time and not be either late or early – and assured those booking that they should not have to wait more than an hour:

There was also little sign of the rapid-turnaround results the government was promising, as the booking confirmation says that two to five days is normal.

At the South Liverpool testing facility set up in a sports centre, which also had a reportedly quiet start, the afternoon saw long queues snaking across the park where the centre is located. There was no separation of those who had booked appointments and those who had turned up as ‘walk ins’ – and those in the queue who had booked reported that their half-hour slot had come and gone while they barely moved a few yards in the long queue:

This picture was taken five minutes before the start of the photographer’s booked 30-minute slot. ‘X’ marks the spot in the queue reached by the expiry of their booked half-hour slot. The red arrow disappearing behind the trees in the distance marks the entrance to the testing facility.

So extreme were the waits that sports centre staff were coming along the queues offering chairs to those struggling to remain standing.

Military police who were marshalling the queues told the SKWAWKBOX that a mobile testing unit, which should have been parked outside to test those arriving with a booked appointment, had been withdrawn at the last minute and that this had led to bookings and walk-ins being forced into a single queue for the one testing point.

Significant numbers of people were seen leaving after waits of an hour or more with little progress toward the front of the queue.

The South Liverpool facility was exclusively for people with no symptoms, whom the government wants to test to identify asymptomatic infections. They were therefore attending voluntarily, with no indication that they might be infected and actually need a test – and many were unable to wait long enough to complete the process.

Local organisers hope the process will be able to cope once the first-day rush settles, but while there were plenty of miitary personnel on site, on today’s performance the number of those trained to actually administer tests was very far from adequate.

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33 comments

  1. Tory Baroness Dodo Harding’s doings. Wife of Tory MP and ex Tory Minister. All chums of Tory PM & co of soon to be SIR or Barron Dominic Cummings. WHY? Because of the MYTHS of Tory competence and MYTHS of TRUE patriotism ie caring for the most vulnerable in society.

  2. Fuck up after fuck up after FU , useless dangerous Johnson and his mates Serco .
    Interesting analysis from someone who actually knows what the are on about ……

    https://allysonpollock.com/?page_id=3345

    The UK has over 20 years experience of delivering evidence-based, systematic, high quality screening programmes, which deliver more good than harm at affordable cost.

    This experience tells us that if you embark on a screening programme without having carefully evaluated it first, without a proper quality assured pathway, without certainty of test performance in field settings, without full information for participants, and without the means to ensure that the intervention needed for those with positive results does indeed take place, then you will end up with an expensive mess that does more harm than good.

    From what we can tell, the current proposals for screening Liverpool using SARS-CoV-2 rapid tests are not fit for purpose.

    It is called a ‘pilot’ yet there appears to be no research design.
    There is no concrete evidence that screening of this nature is helpful in outbreak control.
    It appears to have no system design for who is eligible, how they will be contacted, how they get results, what advice they will be given, how this will be followed up, and how this will be integrated with test and trace and with local health and social care services.
    The tests being proposed are new and there is little data about their performance in field settings, so therefore many people will be given false results.
    The harm from false results includes unnecessary isolation (for false positives), and false reassurance with potentially riskier behaviour (for false negatives).

    Our concerns are that the Liverpool screening will fail to realise any benefit, and will cause harm through diversion of resources – including by distracting from solving the problems with the test and trace programme.

    1. rob – The answer to who eligible for these tests is simple. it’s everyone who lives or works in the pilot area.
      I am guessing that one of the primary reasons for undertaking this pilot is to fill in as many of these knowledge gaps as is possible.

  3. The UK will only start to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic by Easter, one of the scientific advisers to the Government has said.
    Professor John Edmunds, an expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, predicted it would take months to get the “nightmare” of the epidemic under control………

    ………“Given where we are now in infections, it is not until we get proper mass testing that the system can really recover.”
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sage-expert-warns-well-only-22968239

  4. Salient point from Pollocks critique of the Liverpool mass testing fuck up by the Govt
    I suggest that one reads the whole article to fully grasp the issues at stake .

    We are writing to you in response to the apparently hurried decision to begin population-wide testing in Liverpool, as part of the £100 + billion ‘Operation Moonshot’, in order to “find positive cases and to break chains of transmission” (Government press release, 03 November 2020).

    This announcement is inconsistent with the SAGE advice at its 56th meeting on 10 September 2020 that it had “high confidence” that “Prioritising rapid testing of symptomatic people is likely to have a greater impact on identifying positive cases and reducing transmission than frequent testing of asymptomatic people in an outbreak area”. This chimes with WHO guidance to focus on contact tracing and identification of clusters, and which does not recommend mass screening. Proposals for mass screening in their current form will undermine this priority.

    Searching for symptomless yet infectious people is like searching for needles that appear transiently in haystacks. The potential for harmful diversion of resources and public money is vast. Also of concern are the potential vested interests of commercial companies supplying new and as yet inadequately evaluated tests. If the programme is to proceed, then the contracts awarded, or advertised, should be made public, including their cost to the public purse. (The government is already facing a judicial review for failing to publish covid-19 contracts, brought by your fellow MPs Debbie Abrahams, Layla Moran and Caroline Lucas with the Good Law Project.)

    There is currently no evidence demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 screening can bring benefit cost-efficiently, and experience shows that unless screening is delivered as a systematic programme with quality assurance for every step of the pathway then any theoretical benefit will not be realised in practice, even where a benefit is possible.

      1. Judas H……you are either nieve stupid ….I will repeat for what I believe is your stupidity.We do not need troops on the streets for the government to use against the people.I have still the scars to prove it from troops sent on a peacekeeping mission to NIreland by jim Callahan the Labour PM to protect the Catholic population from protestant cleansing of Catholics areas.The troops turned into a force for occupation and worked hand in glove to murder innocent civilians before ever the PIRA moved into the fight.We either learn from mistakes or keep repeating it and that judas H is insanity. 2 brothers murdered by Johnson in care homes,friends murdered by British crown forces in collusion with British government….So keep your trap shut judas.and piss off to your island in the sun 🌞

      2. Joseph – It is more than little presumptuous of you to pontificate from the other side of the world in Cambodia about what is best for the people of Liverpool.
        The proud people of Liverpool (the ones who actually live and work there) have welcomed this pilot and the help of the army. Whilst they recognise the valuable contribution that they are making to the body of scientific knowledge, you are claiming that the people of Liverpool are all stupid and naive and you know what’s best for them.

      3. Judas H….you may have a point there about (pontificating)not a word I like its an old fashioned bigoted anti Catholic word so lets just say “expression of opinions” .Cambodia was were I was needed to help with infrastructure and projects for a world wide Catholic NGO to bring water,sanitation,and solar power systems to those that have been dragged into a colonial power struggle and suffered the consequences of it.Now despite my many years of membership of the Labour party and serving as a borough councillor one of the few in Tory Surrey.I also donated thousands to the Labour party in the hope of getting a Socialist government.So not surprisingly I am bitter to see traitors who dont belong in what used to be a working class movement for the emancipation of the working class of which I belong.Now mr Steve H you feel I should not have any principles or opinions?Well thats very much in line with your knights opinions and you are the ones that are misfits not me.I did not plan to retire in Cambodia, Life’s works in strange ways and I made the best of a bad situation in being caught up in the virus lockdown world wide .I came to love the country and the smiling 😃 faces of a wonderful people the Khmer people.I did not like you decide to park myself in the tax dodgers and capitalist bolt hole the Caribbean where all the old torys put spend their final days.I contributed to this country I by chance am now fortunate to live in.You judas H contribute nothing to the people anywhere and like your knight you are parasites that take from your own people.Good riddence to your island in the sun ,but hopefully we will not have to put up with your sly slithering deflection comments not much longer.

      4. Joseph – I chose the words that best reflected my thoughts, the Papal connection wasn’t something I considered would be of relevance in today’s world. Your own choice of words unfortunately doesn’t reflect my meaning.
        As I’ve already acknowledged your own contributions to your community just a couple of days ago I’m puzzled by your desire to play top trumps at virtue signalling.
        Rather perversely you also boast about your contributions to the Labour Party in Sussex and yet elsewhere on these pages you castigate Keir Starmer for being a member of a proudly Labour family who by an accident of birth, not choice, happened to enjoy a comfortable but modest upbringing in the same posh Tory county.
        You appear to be deluding yourself a little about the ‘working class’ nature of the Labour party, Labour has always attracted a considerable level of support from what you would term as the ‘middle classes’. At the last election roughly the same percentages of ABC1 and C2DE voted Labour and the same percentage of ABC1 voted Tory and Labour.
        As you so obvious admire JC who had a very middle class prep school upbringing I’m quite surprised by your outdated obsession with class.
        Given my reply to you just a couple of days ago I thought that you would have appreciated that our reasons for choosing to live in the WI are family not financial. My wife was born and raised in the WI (where we met) and we are going home to family not to be ex-pats seeking a tax advantage. In fact from a tax perspective the only significant tax advantage we will gain over living in the UK is that there is no inheritance tax there.
        As my wife and I both hold CARICOM passports we could have chosen to live in the Cayman Islands or BVI if we had wanted to save taxes instead we have chosen the nation of my wife’s birth which is not a tax haven for resident citizen’s
        Nobody, least of all myself is saying you shouldn’t have an opinion, I’m simply pointing out that in my opinion it is a little presumptuous of you to insist that you know better than the residents and political leaders of Liverpool particularly when you are basing your opposition on what are now outdated prejudices.
        I do wonder why you feel the need to denigrate the contributions that others make to their communities whilst bragging about your own efforts Doing the right thing shouldn’t be contest.

  5. Good points Joseph ,and anyone with an ounce of intellect can see this potentially coming , but you are wasting your efforts arguing with the Tory Boy Starmer arse licker SH.
    Just ignore him like I do when he tries to reply to your comment thread , his head is soooo far up Starmers arse he must see day light every time the little dictator opens his mouth.
    I am sure that most commentators on here by now know exactly what SH is , a Tory enabler and Centrist apologist of the first order , who’s actions ( along with all those like him ) have lead to the creation of the charnal house that the UK now is with what with Johnsons murderous policies , the responsibilities lie with him and his ilk .

    Anyway on a more informative note the links I have been using clearly show that the experts who are criticising this ill judged Tory abuse of Liverpudlians ( some massive guinea pig experiment ) to be advocating a properly devised and well researched mass testing scheme that has the best outcomes at it’s central core .
    I fear that as with the well known adage ” rubbish in = rubbish out ” and that is exactly what Johnson knee jerk mass testing experiment of Liverpool will result in .
    Below is the full critique of the Tories mass testing scheme , apologies for the length but it is necessary to prevent arseholes from disingenuously twisting what the report says .

    05 November 2020
    Asymptomatic covid-19 screening in Liverpool

    We are writing to you in response to the apparently hurried decision to begin population-wide testing in Liverpool, as part of the £100 + billion ‘Operation Moonshot’, in order to “find positive cases and to break chains of transmission” (Government press release, 03 November 2020).

    This announcement is inconsistent with the SAGE advice at its 56th meeting on 10 September 2020 that it had “high confidence” that “Prioritising rapid testing of symptomatic people is likely to have a greater impact on identifying positive cases and reducing transmission than frequent testing of asymptomatic people in an outbreak area”. This chimes with WHO guidance to focus on contact tracing and identification of clusters, and which does not recommend mass screening. Proposals for mass screening in their current form will undermine this priority.

    Searching for symptomless yet infectious people is like searching for needles that appear transiently in haystacks. The potential for harmful diversion of resources and public money is vast. Also of concern are the potential vested interests of commercial companies supplying new and as yet inadequately evaluated tests. If the programme is to proceed, then the contracts awarded, or advertised, should be made public, including their cost to the public purse. (The government is already facing a judicial review for failing to publish covid-19 contracts, brought by your fellow MPs Debbie Abrahams, Layla Moran and Caroline Lucas with the Good Law Project.)

    There is currently no evidence demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 screening can bring benefit cost-efficiently, and experience shows that unless screening is delivered as a systematic programme with quality assurance for every step of the pathway then any theoretical benefit will not be realised in practice, even where a benefit is possible.

    We would like to ask you what has been decided, and how were decisions reached, regarding the types of tests to be used, what exactly are they aiming to detect, and how has their accuracy been evaluated? We understand that the Liverpool pilot is likely to use a direct LAMP test (Optigene) and a lateral flow assay (Innova). Currently there is little or no evidence of the accuracy of either of these tests from their use in presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases, or in field settings. There is substantial uncertainty as to whether they can detect the lower viral loads that are likely in symptomless people, which appears to be the aim of this mass pilot. If the tests fail to detect cases, then the programme will waste resources and time, and give people false reassurance which could increase transmission. Similarly, the false positive rates of these tests have not been established in community use and neither have the implications for contact tracing services. Evaluations of other similar tests by the WHO has suggested between 1% and 5% of people without infection may get false positive findings. This means that if 1 in 100 people tested in the pilot have asymptomatic infections, as few as 1 in 5 of those getting positive results will actually have Covid-19 – and 4 out of 5 would be false positives and they and their contacts would unnecessarily be told to isolate.

    The accuracy of tests for identifying symptomless infection in a healthy population need to be evaluated in a pilot study with proper research design to assess the extent to which asymptomatic people contribute to overall case-loads, whether they play a significant role in transmission, and whether screening can help. We see no evidence that the Liverpool project has such a research design.

    It appears unclear what will happen when people test positive, and negative, whether there will be clinical oversight in interpretation of the results and whether the results will be sent to patients’ GPs and integrated with medical records. What will people be offered? What will they be instructed to do? What support structures are in place to achieve this? It is also unclear how this programme will be integrated into, and affect, the track and trace system, which is already performing poorly.

    Are all the above considerations documented in a format suitable for the lay public to understand as part of an opt-in informed consent process? Is there an option to withdraw from the scheme at any stage, including freeing people of any study requirements? Are participants afforded the right to access their information, to know with whom it is being shared, and to request its deletion – in line with GDPR and the Data Protection Act?

    These are just some of the questions and issues that are concerning us and that need to be pursued, along with asking the government to explain why they are acting inconsistently with SAGE’s advice. We urge you to do so as soon as possible.

    If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Yours sincerely

    Allyson Pollock
    Professor of Public Health, Newcastle University

    1. Allyson Pollack has a record second to none in striving to protect the NHS.

      Johnson and associated crims have the opposite record.

      Mass testing like this – even without the tests being garbage – has never, ever been recommended.

      There is now no sign of an epidemic. All-cause mortality is rising the normal rate for the time of year

      Covid doesn’t make it into the top 20 of causes of death (ONS) – and that’s when its incidence is exaggerated.

      Statements from government and their picked advisors have been torn to pieces by competent scientists.

      Put that lot together, and you have a massive fraud/con against the people. One which is causing massive damage. Why is the left cowering in the government bunker?

      1. RH – Is there a reason you’ve stopped linking to ‘conspiracy’ sites to back up your nonsense.

      2. Mass testing like this – even without the tests being garbage – has never, ever been recommended.

        You are wrong! The WHO’s advice at the start of the pandemic was “Test! Test! Test!” but our bunch of incompetent, negligent fools completely ignored the advice.

    2. rob – There is no need to twist anything because unfortunately your report is obsessing about advice that is 2 months old and according to SAGE scientists now out of date. I remember the ridiculous spectacle that we witnessed on these pages in the summer of various f’ wits arguing the toss on masks and desperately quoting CDC advise that was out of date and had been superseded by more up to date advice by the same CDC.

      Professor John Edmunds, an expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, predicted it would take months to get the “nightmare” of the epidemic under control………

      As the situation develops and new knowledge is acquired then it is inevitable that the scientific advice will change.

      ………“Given where we are now in infections, it is not until we get proper mass testing that the system can really recover.”
      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sage-expert-warns-well-only-22968239

      I don’t think anyone is denying that there are gaps in our scientific knowledge with regards to mass testing so your condemnation a pilot which is in part designed to fill in these gaps in our knowledge is stupid and nonsensical.

  6. Johnson must be pissing himself laughing at getting his own back on Liverpool as the obedient sheeple queue up for a totally useless exercise.

    1. RH – It is accepted by most people that there are gaps in our knowledge about the efficacy and methodology of mass testing and this pilot in Liverpool is designed to fill in many of these gaps in our knowledge. How can this be a bad thing.
      The sensible people of Liverpool are nobody’s fools and they are wise enough to recognise the value of this pilot, who’s fool are you.

      1. Diverting our attention from the dismal failure of their privately-provided half-arsed test and trace “system” is the Tories’ true purpose in Liverpool.
        “Mass” testing, if narrowly defined as “pick an area and test everybody who wants it” is next to useless in reducing the spread – it just estimates the extent of coronavirus in a population.

        Mass testing AND TRACING, intelligently directed and followed up by efficient isolation of members of groups in specific locations – whose activities and identities have previously been recorded – is where testing gives maximum value.
        That’s not news, it’s how governments smarter than ours have achieved their low numbers since January.

      2. David – Something is better than nothing

        What happens if I test positive?
        Positive results from tests will be collected by NHS Test and Trace and published as part of the daily case numbers, including how many positive cases are detected with this new method of testing. Results will be received from NHS Test and Trace via text and email.
        Anyone who tests positive, using either a lateral flow test or an existing swab test, must self-isolate along with their household immediately. Those who test negative will need to continue to follow all national guidance.

  7. And this should fill any decent socialist with horror :

    The headteacher of the Broadgreen International School, a technology college in Liverpool, sent a very sinister letter to parents yesterday, informing them how “privileged” they should feel that the army will be in the school on Monday testing all the children, marking them with a barcode and detaining those who test positive.”

    Not the rebellious community of old with the reputation of taking no shit from anybody – more Stasi City.

    1. RH – Have you got a link to this letter so we can all see for ourselves whether it lives up to your claims that it is sinister.

      1. SteveH, thank you for providing a link to the letter from Broad Green International School. I totally agree with you, it is comical instead of sinister. It is also poorly written but the general gist is still understandable.

      2. The letter is simply a rush job edited with cut and paste without a read-through.
        Nothing wrong with my literacy and I’ve done it myself.
        Phone rings, David gets distracted, forgets to read through, clicks “send.”

  8. ⭐Breaking News⭐

    Joe Biden wins US election over Donald Trump after Pennsylvania puts him over 270 electoral votes

    1. Almost certainly true, but at this stage still just a projection by a US news media group close to the BBC I understand.

      1. I don’t think Fox – that would definitely have made me sit up and take notice – I don’t remember the wording the announcer used but it seemed to imply some kind of ‘special relationship’.
        That in itself surprised me – I waited for it to be repeated but didn’t hear it. I was busy with other stuff as usual.
        She’d mentioned IIRC the Washington Post and CNN in the same sentence but she may have just phrased her comment badly and not intended to imply any connection. Perhaps just meant to credit the source.
        It was described as ‘breaking’ at the time so maybe she spoke off the cuff.

  9. Should be insightful to have a old senile child molester running the western world. via the trilateral members.I should think the knight and the media will be pleased including Johnson.Nobody likes a loose cannon like trump,hes sees the capatilist system as his own piggy bank.and the other lot don’t like that ,they feel a more integrated approach to world government is needed and RESET.Now how long will they keep the currupt old democrat in position before replacing him with someone capable of finishing the job .they’ve planned for such a very long time.They will probably let him have a few months doing the rounds,I only hope that the world leaders and diplomats keep their children and wives out of old joes wandering hands.I know the media are good at coverups but old joes wandering steroids induced hands are leathal and so are his backers.

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