Johnson Pledges Millions of Covid Tests But U.K. Labs Can’t Cope

Johnson Pledges Millions of Covid Tests But U.K. Labs Can’t Cope

  • Britain’s battle with coronavirus is at a critical moment, with virus testing in trouble again as winter looms. 

When Sam George, a furniture maker from London, developed a persistent cough this week, he tried to book a coronavirus test on the U.K. government website.

But there were no slots available at any of the centers he was offered — even one four hours’ drive away. “I ended up paying 210 pounds ($268) for a next-day private test,” George, 28, said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Six months ago, the U.K. had no mass testing capacity and was forced to impose a damaging lockdown that plunged the economy into its deepest recession in 300 years, even as the British death toll soared to the highest in Europe.