Cornwall Council has spoken to reassure residents that it is taking action to cover temporary issues experienced with the national Covid-19 Testing Service as demand increases.

In a statement this afternoon the council said it had been working with health organisations across Cornwall and Devon to put in place emergency cover measures for those people with symptoms who need a test, and 5,000 tests a week were still being provided in Cornwall.

The council said: "The issues experienced in Cornwall with accessing Covid-19 testing is as a result of increased demand and national laboratory capacity for analysing tests being directed to areas elsewhere with a higher prevalence of Covid-19 cases.

"If you have symptoms please book a test as normal via the government website. If a slot is not available, please try again later in the day or the next morning when new slots are released.

"If you are unable to book a slot please email and you will be contacted by someone who will direct you to the nearest testing centre. Please only get a test if you have symptoms; save the tests available for those who really need them."

In addition to putting in place emergency cover measures, council leader Julian German and cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Sally Hawken have written to the Secretary of State. The letter has asked that the issues with the national testing service are investigated and fixed.

Mr German said: “Our letter to the Secretary of State spells out that the key to keeping our residents and visitors safe is to advise people with Covid-19 symptoms to get tested, and stay at home or safely travel back from holiday.

"Testing is an essential part of the Test and Trace, contact tracing approach. Without access to testing in it hard for us to see any emerging clusters and increase in cases.

"In the absence of consistent access to testing, our outbreak management approach in Cornwall is undermined."

Cornwall Council’s director of public health, Rachel Wigglesworth, said: “Whilst we acknowledge that access to testing in areas of outbreaks, and high Covid-19 prevalence should be prioritised, the public health purpose of testing should be paramount.

"All areas should have access to symptomatic testing”.

You can check your symptoms via 111 online or calling 111.