The leader of Bolton Council has sent a strong message to the government to fix the national testing system as Bolton residents face long journeys or no option at all to get a test despite having the highest rate of cases in the UK.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “We completely understand how frustrating it is for people who are finding it difficult to book a test. This is an unacceptable situation, and myself and senior officers have escalated the issue to the highest levels.

“In our experience, there are major flaws with the online booking system, but this is a nationally run site, which is not locally run and is out of our control.

“We, as a local authority have done everything asked of us. Our teams have been working hard to increase testing capacity in Bolton – two new test centres have opened in the borough and a third is due to open this week; and yet we know these two new sites are currently operating below capacity, and our own residents cannot access a local test.

“This is unacceptable and it needs to get sorted and the issues resolved, and I urge Government to treat this as a matter of the utmost priority.

“We would ask people to try booking an appointment in a few hours. Also, please only book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been asked to get tested.”