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'False negative' Covid test scandal: West Berkshire Council accused of "sitting on this information" by opposition Liberal Democrat leader



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West Berkshire Council is being accused of not looking after its own residents after taking more than a week to announce false negative Covid tests at Newbury Showground.

The council is holding an emergency meeting this morning (Friday) to discuss the issue.

Opposition leader Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) asked: "Why was the council sitting on this information? Why were people left to speculate about it on social media for over a week?

The Newbury Showground testing site.
The Newbury Showground testing site.

"The whole thing around the Covid pandemic is that we tackle it with clear communication. This hasn't happened in West Berkshire."

He said people were walking around with false negative results from the showground site who could be positive.

"The council should have used its authority to inform people or at least make a statement asking them to go elsewhere for a test until speculation had been cleared up."

West Berkshire Council has been accused of not acting quickly enough when the issues were first raised.
West Berkshire Council has been accused of not acting quickly enough when the issues were first raised.

West Berkshire Council issued a statement to the press last night urging people to take another test if they had a negative one from the site between October 3 and 12.

The BBC has been told the problems relate to one specific lab, rather than the site, and have now been fixed.

But some other people in South West England are thought to be affected too.

The coronavirus testing site is operated by the Government.

The DHSC has now confirmed that a number of sites nationally may have been affected by this issue, including the one at Newbury Showground.

Mr Dillon added: "My own mother was tested during this period at the site and had three negative tests from there. We are sure she has Covid as she has all the symptoms. I also had a test there in that period, so we will both have to go back again for another test."



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