England is currently experiencing widespread shortages of lateral flow test kits (Picture: PA / AFP)
Unscrupulous sellers are trying to cash in on England’s shortage of Covid tests by flogging them for up to £150.
Websites such as eBay and Facebook have been hit by adverts for the lateral flow kits, which the NHS usually delivers to homes for free, as availability falls and virus cases surge.
While eBay has a ban on the sale of Covid tests, they were still being sold when Metro checked yesterday.
Since last April the government has urged all adults in England to take a test twice a week and before gatherings. Close contacts of sufferers are supposed to take daily tests.
But shortages remained widespread last night, with the NHS site stating there were no home delivery slots left.
Pharmacies have also reported unavailability of the free kits. The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said it had warned the government supplies were low and a deliveries boost was not enough last month.
However, Nadhim Zahawi yesterday insisted a shortage did not exist — and appeared to blame internet browsers.
The education secretary told Sky News supply had been increased to 300million a month and delivery capacity had trebled, adding: ‘The supply will absolutely be there.
Pharmacies across England are reporting shortages of lateral flow test kits (Picture: Tolga Akmen/ AFP via Getty Images)
‘If people feel that they can’t get the supply, they should just refresh their web page, and it is pretty much delivering with that additional supply coming through.’
The eBay listings for the tests spotted by Metro were later taken down.
A spokesman said filters and regular monitoring were in place to block tests, with any listings making it ‘immediately removed’, adding: ‘We condemn anyone attempting to re-sell Covid tests provided by the NHS.’
Up to 10 million ‘critical’ workers are reportedly set to access home Covid tests through their employers following the nationwide shortages.
Health, education, transport and utilities workers would be included in the scheme, which could be announced as early as this week following a Cabinet meeting.
It comes as multiple hospitals declared ‘critical incidents’, with experts warning the NHS is ‘in a state of crisis’.
Six NHS trusts fear patient care may be ‘compromised’ as more than one million people across the UK are in isolation.
Hospitalisations in the epicentre of London appear to have ‘plateaued’ but other areas are said to be at ‘the foothills’ of the new wave.
There are ‘unprecedented’ health worker shortages, while staff still able to come in are ‘exhausted’ after giving up their days off, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation has said.
But vaccines minister Maggie Throup insisted ‘Plan B is working’, which suggests the government will refuse to bring in new restrictions.
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