THE city is “begging” for coronavirus testing, an MP has claimed.

Residents across Brighton and Hove are facing long delays in getting tested for the virus – with some people being told to walk 350 miles to Newcastle by the government website.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle said the issue lies with how tests are allocated for laboratory processing.

He said the labs were “close to capacity”. The government chooses which area’s tests should be prioritised for lab space – and some areas receive more than others.

The Brighton Kemptown MP said Brighton and Hove City Council has been “begging” the government for more allocation.

“The quota is close to capacity and the government has distributed where that can be used,” he said.

“Brighton is relatively low compared to northern areas.”

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The city’s new coronavirus testing centre in East Brighton Park opened on Wednesday morning.

However, some residents – including an NHS worker – have been told to walk to North Shields by the government’s website.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, tried to get tested after his child developed a cough.

He was unable to do so in Brighton so he searched the website and a glitch told him his nearest walk-in site was in Newcastle.

He said: “We are not doing anything because my child has a bit of a cough. The school policy is that if the individual has a persistent cough, then they go home.

“If they get positive test, we should notify the school which will then contact people in the bubble.

“But you can’t do that if they can’t get a test.”

Another resident, who also asked to remain anonymous, was also directed 350 miles away.

He said: “My wife is receiving chemo treatment at the Sussex County Hospital and need a covid test before treatment.

“It seems we cannot book a test for anywhere in Sussex. After a recent phone call we now understand that the system for chemo patients is changing, hopefully for the better.”

It is understood that both residents have managed to find testing – after days of trying.

Brighton and Hove City Council do not have responsibility for testing in the city.

This lies with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which has been widely criticised for failing to keep up with the recent increase in demand across the county.

Alistair Hill, the council’s director of public health, said: “Good access to testing services is essential to deliver an effective test and trace system to identify cases and prevent outbreaks.

“So its good news that the government has opened a new Covid-19 Local Testing Site in East Brighton.

“It opened fully on Thursday so will be a few days before we can tell how this has improved access to testing for local residents.

“We’re working with the government to help them to open more facilities in the city soon.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care, said the NHS Test and Trace system was providing tests on “an unprecedented scale”.

The UK’s laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and capacity is set to increase, he said.

“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test,” said the spokesman.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge including bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot. As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”

The spokesman did not respond to questions about why residents were being sent to Newcastle, whether the lack of testing was impacting the ability to control outbreaks in schools, or whether greater allocation was being given to other areas.