Around 50,000 coronavirus test samples had to be sent from the UK to the US after “operational issues” in the lab network led to delays in the system.
The news came as the number of daily coronavirus tests fell below Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s 100,000 target for a seventh day in a row.
Following a report in the Sunday Telegraph, the Department of Health said sending swabs abroad is one of the contingencies to deal with so-called teething problems in a rapidly-expanded testing system.
It is understood the test results will be validated back in the UK and communicated to patients “as quickly as possible”.
Capacity “being restored”
The department said work has been undertaken to resolve the issues and capacity is quickly being restored.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The expansion of the UK’s coronavirus testing network has involved setting up an entirely new ‘Lighthouse’ lab network to process test swabs.