UK lab error results in more than 1K false positive coronavirus tests

A testing error at England's government-funded NHS Test and Trace facility resulted in over 1,300 people given false COVID-19 positives, Reuters reports.

The problem, allegedly caused by a batch of testing chemicals, was an "isolated incident," the lab claims.

"NHS Test and Trace has contacted 1,311 individuals who were incorrectly told that the result of COVID-19 tests, taken between Nov. 19 and Nov. 23, were positive. An issue with a batch of testing chemicals meant their test results were void," a department spokesman said. "Swift action was taken to notify those affected and they have been asked to take another test, and to continue to self-isolate if they have symptoms."

Duncan Larcombe, whose daughter was a recipient of one of the accidental results, told the BBC the incident was "more than an inconvenient mistake," adding that it "brings into question for me whether or not this testing system is competent."

The Department of Health and Social Care will have everyone affected by the error take another COVID-19 test.

The NHS Test and Trace system has been controversial since some major failures occurred earlier this year, notably when almost 16,000 positive case records went missing for a few days in September, causing delays, Reuters reports.

England, which has had the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, ditched its national lockdown in favor of a strict tiered system.