Just HOW badly has the Wolverhampton Covid lab testing blunder affected Britain’s outbreak? Cases in South West reach record high and DOUBLE in a week following PCR fiasco

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  • A total of 43,000 infected people were wrongly told that their PCR results were negative due to ‘technical issues’.
  • Cases have doubled in recent days in the South West and five of England’s 10 worst-hit regions are in the region
  • Worry testing error has come at the worst possible time, with cases rising nationally, booster rollouts slowing

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Experts warned today that a test mistake at a discredited Covid laboratory in the south west of England could lead to thousands of avoidable infections and spark a new wave in the region.

More than 43,000 infected people were misdiagnosed because of ‘technical issues’ at a private facility operated by Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton, where workers were filmed playing football and wrestling in shifts.

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Affected patients, mostly concentrated in the Southwest, were given false negatives between September 8 and October 12, allowing the virus to spread unrestricted within the region.

The case rate in the Southwest has doubled in recent days, when the error was seen to reach a record-high, according to data from the government’s Covid dashboard. Five of the 10 most affected areas of England are now in the region.

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Dr Rupert Beale, an eminent virologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, described the scandal as ‘the worst f**-up this year by far’.

Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline that he believed faulty test results were ‘impacting’ on case rates and estimated the error caused thousands of avoidable infections.

The Southwest recorded a total of 32,815 new cases of coronavirus in the seven days to October 15 – the equivalent of 579.9 per 100,000 people. This is up from 16,910 cases or 298.8 cases in the last seven days.

Bath and North East Somerset are now England’s Covid capital, with cases nearly three times as high at the time, reaching levels doubled during the darkest phase of the second wave in January. It is now recording 877.5 infections per 100,000 people, compared to 260.7 a week ago.

There are concerns that testing error has come at the worst possible time, with daily cases reaching peak-second-wave levels and the UK’s booster program struggling to break out of the mark as the country heads towards a harsh winter. Is.

Experts have also warned of a subtype of the Delta Covid strain that could be even more contagious than the already vicious-virus virus. The new ‘NU’ variant now makes up one in 10 cases in the UK, data suggests.

Sajid Javid will address NHS demands for a Covid ‘Plan C’ at tonight’s Downing Street press conference after Tory MPs today slammed health leaders for urging health leaders to reintroduce face masks and work from home guidance .

The case rate in the Southwest (shown in black) has doubled in recent days, according to data from the government’s Covid dashboard. Experts say some of these will be retest results, but it’s ‘highly’ likely that testing errors are behind the rise

With Bath and North East Somerset now the Covid capital of England, cases had nearly tripled in that time.  It is now recording 877.5 infections per 100,000 people compared to 260.7 a week ago

With Bath and North East Somerset now the Covid capital of England, cases had nearly tripled in that time. It is now recording 877.5 infections per 100,000 people compared to 260.7 a week ago

Somerset West End Taunton currently has the second highest rate in the UK, up from 365.5 to 872.5 - its highest rate during the pandemic

Somerset West End Taunton currently has the second highest rate in the UK, ranging from 365.5 to 872.5 – its highest rate during the pandemic

Other regions registering sharp growth in the southwest include Cheltenham (138.7 to 773.9).

Other regions registering sharp growth in the southwest include Cheltenham (138.7 to 773.9).

Stroud rate increased from 143.1 to 782.4 in the week to 15 October

Stroud rate increased from 143.1 to 782.4 in the week to 15 October

Mendip rounds up the five regions of the South West that account for half of England's worst-hit

Mendip rounds up the five regions of the South West that account for half of England’s worst-hit

Professor Hunter estimated that 8,000 people would have caught the disease from a person given the wrong result, based on rough estimates about the number of people who would have been isolated when unwell, regardless of the PCR result. But he added: ‘It could be more, there are still many major unknowns here.’

Somerset West End Taunton currently has the second highest rate in the UK, ranging from 365.5 to 872.5.

Other regions registering sharp growth in the Southwest include Stroud (from 143.1 to 782.4), Cheltenham (from 138.7 to 773.9) and Tukesbury (from 95.2 to 691.3).

Professor Kit Yates, a senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath, said some of the new cases will be the result of retests, but it is ‘extremely likely’ that many are a direct result of not being isolated.

The only local authority in the area not reporting an increase in the latest figures is Exeter, where the rate dropped slightly from 339.0 to 313.5.

Dr Ragib Ali, an epidemiologist at Cambridge University, told MailOnline that the Southwest was particularly vulnerable to a major fault like the Immensa Health Clinic Ltd lab in Wolverhampton because the region had low levels of natural immunity.

Employees of the Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton were filmed (pictured) fighting with each other in January.  This was at the peak of the first wave and when the country was under strict lockdown

Employees of the Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton were filmed (pictured) fighting with each other in January. This was at the peak of the first wave and when the country was under strict lockdown

They were also recorded playing football together at the testing center while on duty.

They were also recorded playing football together at the testing center while on duty.

Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton has been suspended after an investigation revealed that it may have processed PCR tests incorrectly.  The Lab (pictured) has been paid £120 million by the taxpayer for its services

Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton has been suspended after an investigation revealed that it may have processed PCR tests incorrectly. The Lab (pictured) has been paid £120 million by the taxpayer for its services

Government’s SAGE scientists have met only twice in the last three months, despite the increase in Kovid

Britain’s top scientific adviser has met only twice in the past three months, it was revealed today that a fourth Covid wave is just around the corner.

The last meeting of the SEZ, which guides the government in the Kovid epidemic, was held on 14 October.

The October meeting was the second in so many months, with the influential panel last coming together on 9 September.

The group – which includes England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, …

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