PEOPLE in Oxfordshire struggling to get a coronavirus test in the county have been shown a cheat for how to do so.

Last week residents were told to travel hundreds of miles away for a swab as test centres struggled to cope with the demand.

Mums who tried to book the correct way through the government's website were told to go as far as the Isle of Wight as the task had proved impossible. 

Read more: sick people told to travel HOURS for coronavirus test 

But now staff at the test centres have revealed a loophole in getting a testing appointment.

Oxfordshire resident Megan Belcher, who struggled to book a local test on the internet, told the Oxford Mail: “The testing centre was empty, but we couldn’t book an appointment online.

“I was told I could book an appointment in Scotland and as long as I had a QR code I could get tested in Oxford.

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“I did this and got tested right away.

“They have the capacity and tests, local people are just unable to book them and are having to travel miles unnecessarily.”

This morning, Clare Oxenbury-Palmer went to an empty site at Oxford Parkway Park and Ride just outside Kidlington, previously known as Water Eaton, to get a test for her 14-year-old daughter who had flu-like symptoms.

She had been told by friends that she could just turn up for a swab, but on arrival one of the staff members, a young man, had told her he couldn’t do the test without a QR code.

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She said: “He told us the OX postcode doesn’t work and there was a glitch in the system.

“He said to try different postcodes and book a test to get a QR code.

“He sent me away to the car park and told me to try the website using different postcodes.”

She said the ‘hack’ hadn’t worked for her yet but she kept trying, adding: “We tried Scunthorpe, Milton Keynes, Wheatley…nothing came up at all.

Read more: every single coronavirus case in each area of Oxfordshire 

“I tried calling 119 but got through to an automated message which said that the system was busy and to try again later. Then it hung up on me.

“The system is a complete shambles and makes a complete mockery of all that we are being told by the Government.”

Last week one mum was told to drive to Essex for a test and when she tried again in the afternoon the only options available were Tewkesbury (35 miles away), Droitwich (36 miles away),  and Paulton (72 miles away).

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The Department of Health and Social Care said the mounting pressure was because of a huge demand from people who did not have any symptoms, who were not supposed to be asking for tests.

The Government department have been asked if the loophole is the best way of getting a test in Oxford.