THE Government insists it is doing ‘everything possible’ to overcome the challenge posed by a spike in demand for coronavirus testing after the council leader slammed the system.

Strict new measures for Warrington came into force on Tuesday to curb the spread of Covid-19 following an alarming increase in cases.

It came as senior figures in the town expressed concerns over the national testing system.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said he thinks it is safe to say it has been ‘pretty shambolic’ during Monday’s virtual full council meeting.

The Labour politician claimed it is ‘trace the test’ at the moment, rather than ‘track and trace’.

Meanwhile, he called for resources to be put in place to ensure residents can access a test promptly and within a reasonable distance of their own homes.

And the council’s director of public health Thara Raj labelled the situation as ‘difficult’ in the week before.

But she stated the council is hopeful that ‘national colleagues will come up with a solution that we can work with’.

The Department of Health and Social Care has responded to the concerns.

A spokesman for the Government department said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – over 200,000 a day on average last week – with the vast majority of people getting tested within six miles of their home.

“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge – including by bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot.”

The department says laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week, with recently announced new facilities and technology aiming to process results even faster.

As part of the drive towards a target of 500,000-a-day testing UK capacity by the end of October, the Government has announced the addition of new Lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network and work is ongoing to expand this even further in the coming months.

The spokesman added: “As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”