Barcode glitch prompts new testing system chaos as thousands refused entry

He posted on Twitter: “Massive gridlock in Catford. Turns out a drive-through Covid testing centre has been opened here. All roads, including south circular, totally gridlocked. And after all that, nobody is getting tested because none of them have received a QR code. Shambles doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

Solihull Council said in a statement that a mobile testing unit in a car park had ground to a halt on Friday after 400 people were turned away without the QR code.

“The unit is open for tests today, but ONLY for those with a valid QR code confirmation,” said the council. “We understand it was really difficult yesterday – 400 people arrived without a completed booking. Not their fault, it was due to a glitch in the govt booking system.”

In Deeside industrial estate, just outside Chester, traffic jams built up, with people stuck at the gates of the test site unable to get in because a QR code had not arrived with the booking confirmation.

One IT expert said he believed the testing website, created by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) contained “basic coding errors” which could have caused the system to send out bookings without the QR code.

Craig Mason, 34, from Plymouth, created  his own “bot” that repeatedly searched for testing availability after spending more than five days refreshing the testing website “at least 200 to 300 times” in a search of a test for him and his family.

“The problems with the testing site are due to basic coding errors,” he said. “My work has shut down, my daughter is off school, and it’s taken over a week to figure out if we actually have it (the graph below shows coronavirus symptoms compared to other common conditions).

“It would take whoever is building this issue half an hour to fix it, it really would, and the problems would go away.”

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