In recent weeks, there have been widespread problems with the government`s testing system which seriously affected health services.
A number of NHS staff have been forced to stay off work due to testing shortages, while several other people struggled to get tested. The constant increase in the number of infections especially in care homes has been a matter of concern amid testing shortages.
In an effort to tackle the problems with the system and also reduce the risk of infections, the government came up with a plan to prioritise coronavirus tests in care homes, as well as testing NHS staff and patients.
Greater Manchester is one of the areas seriously affected by the pandemic in England and the mayor said that there is limited time to fix the system.
In a statement, mayor Andy Burnham said: “I think we have two or three weeks to fix these things. If we don’t, the worry is we’ll never gain control as we head into autumn and winter.”
He urged the government to work together with local authorities to establish areas that are lacking and where capacity should be focused.
On Tuesday the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised testing according to need. Over the summer, when demand was low, we were able to meet all requirements for testing, whether priorities or not.
“But as demand has risen, so we are having to prioritise once again and I do not shirk from decisions about prioritisation. They are not always comfortable, but they are important.”
Mr Hancock added: “The top priority is and always has been acute clinical care. The next priority is social care, where we’re now sending over 100,000 tests a day because we’ve all seen the risks this virus poses in care homes.
“We’ll set out in full an updated prioritisation and I do not rule out further steps to make sure our tests are used according to those priorities.”
Following the widespread problems with the government`s “world-beating” testing system, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to face questions about testing on Wednesday at Prime Minister`s Questions.