The government has told care homes and the public to immediately stop using coronavirus testing kits produced by a healthcare firm after safety problems were discovered.
The government said all labs must pause the use of COVID-19 test kits produced by Randox laboratories “with immediate effect until further notice”.
It said the tests, which were used as part of the NHS system, failed to meet safety standards.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there had been a problem with the swabs but there was no suggestion that test results were affected.
He told the Commons on Thursday: “We’ve identified some swabs that are not up to the usual high standard that we expect, and we’ll be carrying out further testing of this batch as a precautionary measure.
“And while we investigate further, we’re requesting that the use of these Randox swab test kits are paused in all settings until further notice.”
He added: “Clinical advice is that there is no evidence of any harm, the test results are not affected.
“There is no evidence of issues with any of our other test swabs, and there is no impact on access to testing.”
Meanwhile, the government is set to publish town and village data on how many people have tested positive for coronavirus.
The public will be able to look at figures for their area with interactive apps. Homes of individuals with coronavirus will not be identifiable.
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The figures for England will be published weekly, with the aim of updating them daily.
Since the launch of Test and Trace, 155,889 close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been asked to self-isolate after being reached through the tracing system.
This is 84.1% out of a total of 186,401 people identified as close contacts.