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News website exposes non-existent coronavirus testing centre

A regional news website has vowed to keep challenging the government over coronavirus after exposing a testing centre which did not exist.

An investigation by Cornwall Live found a drive-through site set up for testing in Truro, which was provided to NHS staff and others, had no staff or facilities ready to deal with pre-designated appointments.

Several people, including a nurse who works on the frontline at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, came forward to show Cornwall Live chief reporter Lee Trewhela their email verifications that testing would happen at the site on Thursday.

The site, pictured below, was eventually set up later that day after many of those who contacted the site had missed their slot.

trurto centre

The story prompted Edd Moore, Reach plc’s digital editor for Devon and Cornwall, to post tongue-in-cheek on Twitter that “the media should stop asking questions”.

Explaining his tweet, Edd told HTFP: “This story is just one example of the hundreds published every day across the regional media that simply would not be told without us.

“The fact that frontline NHS staff had been given appointments to be tested at a facility that literally didn’t exist is a prime example of why the media needs to continue to ask questions.

“There is a sentiment from some quarters that the media is wrong to highlight potential flaws in, or to even question the government on, its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is not the press being negative – we publish dozens of positive and uplifting stories every day on Cornwall Live, Devon Live and Plymouth Live – it is the press holding those in power to account, as it is our duty to do.

“It is concerning that the media highlighting issues such as this one and challenging the government on them is being presented by some as a political issue. We’ll continue to report on the pandemic in our region, as we report on everything else, without fear or favour.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.