PEOPLE from the Taunton area trying to book Covid-19 tests are being told to travel to Aberdeen, Cumbria and Wales.

It comes as one person who eventually got an appointment at the Taunton testing centre found no-one else there apart from the staff, who were "just stood around waiting".

Independent local councillor John Hunt has hit out at the "absurd" situation and called on Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow to get involved.

Cllr Hunt said: "We are being advised to get ourselves and our children tested for Covid-19, if we are showing symptoms and quite right too.

"However, I’ve had several residents contact me to say their children had been sent home from school.

"One said their child was sent home with a cough, needing to isolate and get tested.

"The parents spent all day online trying to book a test, trying to do the right thing and yet there is nothing available.

"In desperation, they drove to a ‘quiet’ Taunton test centre and are turned away due not having an appointment.

"This is an absurd ‘catch 22’ situation. To get a test you need an appointment, but you can’t get an appointment to get a test."

HERE are some of the comments local people have made to Cllr Hunt:

*"My son and daughter-in-law had to drive all the way to Cardiff with sick grandson on Saturday morning to get tested, after spending all day Friday either on the phone or computer."

*"It's impossible everywhere. Tests should be available for schools to test immediately. Someone was offered a test at 9.30am in Exeter but the drive would have taken them two hours and this was 9.10am."

*"They expect adults who are showing symptoms to drive themselves over 100 miles, whilst ill. It is farcical."

*"My friend was told to get to Cardiff to get her son tested even though she told them she had no transport."

*"After on line and on phone for at least an hour...then offered Cumbria...from Taunton."

*"When I eventually got to the Taunton Covid testing centre...I was the only one being tested...With all the other people there just stood around...Waiting."

*"I have family member that's been trying since last Friday and a colleague who's been trying since last Monday week. Can't go back to work till had one."

*"My son got sent home yesterday and I ended up taking him to Newport yesterday afternoon to get a test in desperation. I don’t believe he has symptoms, and we run our own business, which we are now having to stay home from, as is my daughter who has not been provided with any work to keep up to date, as promised by the school. My son, however, is having a blast playing on his switch whilst not displaying any symptoms."

*"Testing at racecourse was go as and when, now you have to book and suddenly there are no appointments out there. This is taking testing to a new level of incompetence. What happens in the North - have they got to travel down here for their testing? No wonder this country is a laughing stock."

*"Have a friend in exactly the same position, driving a sick child to Wales today."

*"Having exactly the same problem, ONE of our children has ONE of the symptoms, advice from 111 was to treat as a positive case until we can get a test and prove otherwise. Meanwhile, two of us are now off work and four kids all off school, possibly unnecessarily, however more worryingly, if it truly is positive, the schools won't react to it as there's no test to prove. Makes all the staggered drop offs, classroom bubbles and additional precautions worth it when the the backbone system that our lives are all currently relying on is a shambles."

*"Someone I know asked for a test for their child and was told the only available appointment was in Aberdeen. They live in the South West."