Doina Cornell (Labour), Catherine Braun (Green) and Ken Tucker (Lib Dem) want an urgent investigation into the recent failure of lab covid testing which resulted in over 40,000 people being given false negative results. Scientists fear this may have caused hundreds of extra hospitalisations and deaths.[i] Stroud district and Gloucestershire are among the areas most affected in the UK.
In a joint statement, they said: “We’ve seen cases rising in our district like never before, and for weeks before government announced that there was a lab testing failure, we were hearing local stories that something was not quite right with the tests. Why did it take so long for this failure to be detected and how many thousands of people has it affected? We can’t afford for mistakes like this to happen during a pandemic. We call on Government to bring in urgent extra measures to get cases down quickly, such as mask wearing and extra ventilation in enclosed spaces and extra support for people needing to isolate.”
The councillors praised local people for adhering to safety measures throughout the pandemic, and keeping cases low in Stroud district, as well as the local NHS, GPs and volunteers for helping achieve some of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
“People who have done all the right things are now ill with COVID and angry that the Government has denied any link between the test failures and increasingly high numbers of local cases. We are calling on our fellow Gloucestershire council leaders and our MPs to join us in demanding urgent action.”
[i] BBC Radio 4 Inside Science, “The Possible Impact of false-negative PCR Tests” 21 October 2021.