The swabs were sent as a Northern Ireland laboratory suddenly stopped processing samples after reaching capacity. They had been voided due to the way in which they had been processed, those who took one of the tests will have to be re-tested, which will cost an estimated six-figure sum for the taxpayer. Lord Bethell, the Innovation Under-Secretary, told the Telegraph: “We worked hard to get complete tests for people under difficult circumstances.
“In many cases that worked and we are grateful to the team for their efforts. But in some cases it didn’t, and the correct judgement was made to void the tests.
“Everyone affected was offered a new test immediately and we worked quickly to restore full capacity in the UK.”
The Northern Ireland Randox laboratory is privately run.
Samples have to be tested within 72 hours of the test.
A nurse takes a test swab in Manchester
Stock: The tests were sent to the United States
Of the 67,000 in the aforementioned sample, they were collected and air lifted to a university in the US East Coast over ten days.
A Department of Health and Social Care source said: “On rare occasions when problems arise, we have contingencies in place, which include creating extra temporary capacity for our labs or sending swabs abroad for completion.”
The US lab has not been used since, according to the source.
A Randox spokesperson said: “Randox is only one partner within a multi-partner, national testing programme being run and coordinated by the Department of Health and Social Care.
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Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus after falling ill in Parliament
“Decisions on the use of testing resources are made at a national level within the overall programme.
“Randox has no knowledge of samples being sent to the US.”
In the most recent update, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that there had been an extra 359 UK coronavirus deaths.
That brings the total death toll up to 39,728.
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Ed Miliband passed Mr Sharma a glass of water
A total of 279,856 people have tested positive.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Alok Sharma has been tested and is self-isolating at home after becoming unwell in Parliament.
Mr Sharma was seen wiping his face several times in the Commons chamber.
He attended a Cabinet meeting in person on Tuesday and spent an hour in the Commons chamber.
A spokesman for the Reading West MP said: “Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the Chamber delivering the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.
“In line with guidance he has been tested for coronavirus and is returning home to self isolate.”
The Department of Health confirmed an extra 359 deaths
At one point, Ed Miliband, the Shadow Business Secretary passed Mr Sharma a glass of water.
Some opposition MPs say the episode shows the Government was wrong to scrap a hybrid model to allow some MPs to vote remotely.
“We will not be returning to the crowded, bustling chamber of old,” argued Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg due to the existence of social distancing measures.