Diary of a Lockdown, day 165: ‘no test sites found’

In the nation’s capital city, with Covid-19 cases rising, you can’t get tested

Youngest child has a runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough. In normal times I’d tell him to soldier on, but he’s just started back to school and his whole year ‘bubble’ of more than 200 children will be told to stay home if he turns out to have Covid-19, so we’re doing the responsible thing and keeping him at home.

When we called NHS 111 last night they told us to book him a Covid test. More than 12 hours later and I’m still trying, refreshing the page periodically since I got up this morning. The website responds ‘no test sites found’ for our London postcode. I’ve now called the 119 helpline, which tells me unhelpfully, but repeatedly: “Your call is in a queue. There will be a wait before your call can be answered.”

So, after six months off school he has managed precisely one full day back at what is the start of his GCSE year.

The talk on the Streatham mums’ Whatsapp group is of private tutors and special catch-up clubs at some schools. I’ve emailed Dunraven to see if they can send work home for him to do – but I’m not hopeful. He had his fill of working through PowerPoints for the whole of the summer term. He didn’t do it. He’s 15. He needs teachers.

He can’t responsibly go back to school until he knows for sure he hasn’t got Covid. And he can’t know that without a test.

So, please, please will this useless government stand aside and let someone competent take over?

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