PEOPLE in Somerset are being urged to only book a coronavirus tests if they have symptoms.

The plea follows a surge in demand, with 7,000 people being tested in the county last week alone.

At the same time, there have been complaints about the difficulty in booking tests, while others say they have been told to get tested in places as far away as Aberdeen, Cumbria and Wales.

Test sites are commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care, which is seeing heavy demand nationally.

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the Somerset Coronavirus Engagement Board, said: “Only book a coronavirus test if you are displaying symptoms. This includes a fever, a new dry persistent cough and/or a loss of taste and smell.

“If you have a test when you’re not displaying symptoms, the result could be negative which may not be the case.

"You could still be incubating the disease and become infectious.

“Going for a test when you don’t need it prevents essential key workers or those with symptoms being able to get a slot."

The only way to book a test slot is through the national portal online at or by phoning 119.

You should not phone 111, turn up at a local test site without a booking, contact your GP surgery or visit A&E, who will not be able to help. Just keep trying the national portal.

Cllr Fothergill added: "And finally, it’s vitally important you continue to self-isolate whilst waiting for a test result.

"This also goes for everyone in your household who must also self-isolate, even if they don’t have any symptoms. Only when you receive a negative result or you’ve completed your self-isolation period, if you tested positive, should you and your household return to school, the workplace etc.”

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