AN ENGLISH MP says his constituents were asked to make an 800-mile round-trip to the Borders for a coronavirus test.

In the House of Common last week, former business secretary Greg Clark revealed some people in Kent had been invited to get tested at Netherdale in Galashiels.

The Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells said on September 10: “The Secretary of State must accept that there is a problem here.

"Constituents of mine in Kent displaying symptoms of COVID were this week advised to go for tests in Bude in Cornwall and Galashiels in Scotland – and this is in a mild September, before the autumn and winter when people have coughs and colds that may look like symptoms of COVID.

"It is no good blaming people who are asymptomatic."

Mr Clark’s comments came after UK health secretary Matt Hancock said people travelled an average of 6.4 miles to be tested.

Mr Hancock blamed a supposed lack of tests on people requesting them despite having no symptoms.

Mr Hancock, who represents West Suffolk for the Conservatives, said: "As capacity has increased, we have seen an even faster rise in demand, including a significant increase from people who do not have symptoms and are not eligible for a test.

"That takes tests away from people who need them.

"If you have symptoms of coronavirus or are asked by a clinician or local authority to get a test, please apply, but if you do not have symptoms and have not been asked, you are not eligible for a test."

Mr Clark continued by asking Mr Hancock: "I would be interested if the Secretary of State could say what percentage of people turning up for testing do not have symptoms.

"This situation needs his personal grip.

"He referred to the need for him to increase testing capacity from 1,000 a day to 100,000 a day.

“This is an urgent matter that he needs to grip before the autumn and winter bites.

"Will he commit to ensuring that by the end of the month anyone who has symptoms of COVID can get a test at a reasonable place that is convenient to their home?"

As part of his reply, Mr Hancock said: "Yes, I want to solve this with ever more capacity, but I also want to ensure that the tests are used by the right people."