A testing blunder at a disgraced Covid laboratory in the South West of England led to thousands of avoidable infections and may trigger a fresh wave in the region, experts warned today.
Connor Boyd, John Ely Senior www.dailymail.co.uk
Up to 43,000 infected people were incorrectly told their PCR results were negative due to ‘technical issues’ at a private facility run by Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton, where workers were filmed playing football and wrestling on shift.
The affected patients, mostly concentrated in the South West, were given the false negatives between September 8 and October 12, allowing the virus to continue spreading unrestricted within the region.
According to data from the Government’s Covid dashboard, case rates in the South West have doubled in recent days after the error was spotted to reach a record-high. Five of the 10 worst-hit areas in England are now in the region.
Dr Rupert Beale, an eminent virologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, described the scandal as the ‘worst f***-up this year by some distance’.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline he believed the faulty test results were ‘having an impact’ on case rates and estimated the error led to thousands of avoidable infections.
A total of 32,815 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the South West in the seven days to October 15 — the equivalent of 579.9 per 100,000 people. This is up from 16,910 cases, or 298.8 in the previous seven days.
Bath and North East Somerset is now the Covid capital of England, with cases almost tripling in that time to reach levels twice as high as seen during the darkest spell of the second wave in January. It’s recording 877.5 infections per 100,000 people now, compared to 260.7 the week prior……
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