Do not cross the Solent for a Coronavirus test urges Isle of Wight health chief

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee explained that he’d been advised to travel to Lewisham to get a Coronavirus test.

covid-19 drive through testing centre - person standing at door of car with clipboard

Stories of Islanders being advised the nearest location for a Coronavirus (Covid-19) test is somewhere on the mainland continue to emerge.

At last night’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee, the Isle of Wight’s Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, told members the problem was due to a national issue with laboratory capacity and that the “system is not smart enough to manage the piece of water” between the Island and the mainland.

Mr Bryant explained

“The issue is national and with lab capacity – it’s increasing but not as fast as demand. There’s a delay in getting tested, it’s picking up, some people offered a test straight away due to availability of slots.

“Capacity has been capped and in some cases there’s a delay in results. It’s all speeding up, but we’re working with Department for Health and Social Care to see how we can increase capacity.”

Target times for testing
Cllr Michael Lilley asked what the “preferred target time or achievable target time” to get someone tested and the results back were.

“We must know how long it is taking?”

Mr Bryant said he didn’t know how long people are waiting for tests.

“The ideal is to get a test turned around in 24 hours, for some people it has been 48 hours. We are restricted by national, rather than local processes.”

Get tested in Lewisham
Chairperson of the Committee, Cllr Richard Hollis, explained that he’d be advised by the Test and Trace programme to travel to Lewisham to get a test.

He asked,

“Are we getting any feedback that this situation is starting to be sorted out?”

Mr Bryant explained,

“A 75 mile cap was placed on the system but it’s not smart enough to be able to manage a piece of water, it doesn’t see it as anything different.

“We have done a lot of work with the ferries to discourage travel both ways because it is really not appropriate for people to travel with symptoms to the Island and from the Island for tests.”

“We’ve carried out a lot of work with the ferries to discourage travel in either direction.”

Do not cross the Solent
He reiterated that people should not travel across the Solent (in either direction) to have a test. You should keep trying for a test at the Newport Cricket Ground test centre, or order a home test.

He reminded members that only those with the specific Covid-19 symptoms should be asking for a test.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with Coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Image: mdgovpics under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 7th October, 2020 3:00pm



Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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10 Comments on "Do not cross the Solent for a Coronavirus test urges Isle of Wight health chief"

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It would be interesting to know exactly how many have travelled both ways for testing.
I’m sure very few would have mentioned they were travelling for a Covid 19 test.
The whole handling of this pandemic from the start has been farcical by the government.
We look like a third world country unable to properly handle this.

Rhos yr Alarch

But the advice needs to be stronger, doesn’t it – MUST NOT rather than SHOULD NOT! It is ridiculous this is still going on…

Benny C

Absolutely. Let’s ask super sausage Bob Seeley to opine on how well his regime is handling this and what his advice is to those asked to travel on ferries while potentially infected, risking a super spread event. Then ask him to compare our trace system to Germany. And, err, Senegal, whose virus control under near impossible resource conditions is actually better than the U.K.


This is a case of stating the bleedin’ obvious…….


Surely the answer is to remove the Island test centre from the nationwide list, so mainlanders won’t have access to our test site, and publicise heavily on the Island for Islanders to call a separate number/weblink to book local IOW tests rather than use the national booking system.


clearly the recommendations of a test centre are based solely on distance and not on accessability (ie time needed to get there).

my understanding is that these slots are offered but you can refuse them. hopefully it will improve people’s knowledge of geography.

I don’t think this is off topic as it’s about testing on the island. Last week (first of October, ish) I was invited to take a test via the King’s College/Zoe research app. There is a hierarchy of priority for testing, according to main symptoms/less common ones + whether or not one is a key worker. There was one drive-through test on the island available at the… Read more »
Mark L Francis

So how many people in London are being sent t the IOW?


One is too many Mark


People with Covid coming over on the ferry to be tested are having to get on public transport to get to the testing centre in Newport. This makes all Island public transport unsafe. No wonder the Covid numbers are rising on the Island.