The UK’s testing for travel system was described as been an “absolute mess” after Twitter users shared shocking images of used PCR swabs piled high on top of drop-off bins. The Randox bins, pictured in London, allow users to take their day two tests at home and then drop them in designated bins to be collected and processed.
Travel expert Paul Charles tweeted: “What is the point of taking a Day two PCR test?”
He added that the images are “a symbol of the absolute mess that PCR testing has become.”
Mr Charles claimed that images show “samples left for anyone to take” and serves as “proof of private labs that aren’t in any hurry to turn around the results.”
Randox confirmed there is no personal data contained in the test kits.
They added they work to empty drop-boxes as often as possible, and at least once a day.
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said: “These pointless rip-off day two PCR tests for people returning from amber and green list countries most of which have a fraction of our COVID-19 rates are becoming a bad joke. #SaveOurSummer”
A spokesperson for Randox told Express.co.uk: “Randox is constantly expanding and improving its COVID-19 testing capacity and associated logistics network, which is already the largest in the United Kingdom, to meet the rapidly growing demand resulting from the loosening of travel restrictions.
“Randox continues to increase the number of drop boxes across the United Kingdom, which already totals over 200, and is increasing the frequency of box collections which are already occurring multiple times per day.
“Randox is providing premium testing services in dynamic and rapidly changing circumstances and is committed to continuously improving its logistics network, to ensure that international travellers receive their results in time.
“All of the sample kits pictured will be processed.”
It comes as Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid has raised calls for an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the cost of private PCR testing for travel.
Randox stated it offers some of the most competitive prices for PCR tests, starting from £43.
The health secretary wrote to the CMA on Friday, describing the high cost of some tests as “exploitative” and “unfair”.
“The cost of PCR testing can act as a barrier, especially for families who want to travel together,” Javid said in a letter to Dr Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive.
A CMA spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns about the evolving markets for Covid-19 tests for international travellers.
“We look forward to providing the secretary of state with advice on how best to ensure that travellers have access to tests that are affordable and reliable.”
Within the industry, there are calls for VAT to be scrapped on tests.
According to Avi Lasarow, EMEA CEO of Project Screen by Prenetics, this could save “a family of four flying from London to Majorca” as much as £166.