BOOKING restrictions have been placed on some Covid-19 testing sites in Cheshire East while laboratories cope with demand for tests, says Cheshire East Council.

The council is urging residents and businesses to only get a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms of the virus in the wake of testing laboratories across the country being ‘temporarily overwhelmed’.

A council spokesman said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking a test for coronavirus, partly due to the return of schools and the testing of international travellers.

“This has put a strain on the laboratories which process the tests. On top of this, the number of people who do not have symptoms being tested has also increased, meaning some people who are symptomatic cannot access a test when they need it.

“The sheer number of people now being tested, who often do not have symptoms, has led to laboratories being temporarily overwhelmed across the country.

“This situation has seen booking restrictions placed on some of the testing sites in Cheshire East while laboratories cope with such high demand.”

Rod Thomson, public health consultant for Cheshire East Council said: “A vast amount of work has gone into delivering the testing infrastructure we need across Cheshire East.

“There are, regional, local, satellite and mobile testing sites available for our residents and workers across Cheshire and Merseyside.

“The increase in people using those sites in the last few weeks has, however, meant laboratories need even greater capacity to cope with the demand.

“Many of the people now seeking tests do not have symptoms of Covid-19, and it is those people we are asking to wait a little longer while the capacity in laboratories is developed nationally.

“It is essential for people who do have symptoms or have been asked by Test and Trace or healthcare professional to get a test, to come forward.

“As we manage this period of high demand, it is especially important that if individuals don’t have symptoms and have not specifically been advised to take a test, to stay away for now.

“We are asking people to do this as they could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it.”

Key workers, frontline health and care staff and those in an outbreak area, will continue to be tested whether they have symptoms or not.