If most people with a cough or fever request a coronavirus test this winter, there won’t be enough tests every day for five months, a study estimates.

Based on normal levels of coughs and fever alone – which are common symptoms of flu and cold – demand will peak in December.

The researchers say current UK testing capacity should be “immediately scaled up to meet this high predicted demand”.

A new lab will increase the number of tests processed, officials say.

Combined with new technology and new tests, the government plans to reach 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

But the capacity of the system is currently much less (about 244,000) and demand has risen, resulting in people being sent hundreds of miles for tests or

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