A testing lab which falsely returned negative covid test results to members of the public in Newport and South Wales ‘could have caused 1,000 deaths’, it has been claimed.

Earlier this year, in late September, an estimated 43,000 PCR tests sent to the Immensa laboratory in Wolverhampton were recorded as being negative.

As a result, those who took the tests received texts and emails which stated that they did not have Covid-19.

However, days later, it was revealed that these tests were false negatives, and in fact, many of those people were indeed positively infected with the virus at the time.

At this time, testing facilities in Wales were being stretched, with 190,000 PCR tests being administered in the last week of September.

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To cope with the demand, many tests carried out in Wales were sent to the Immensa lab in Wolverhampton, and South Wales residents are confirmed to have falsely been told that they did not have covid.

The Argus can confirm that this includes members of the public who took PCR tests at the walk-in facility outside Newport Civic Centre.

According to leading scientist, Professor Deepti Gurdasani, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at Queen Mary University, the false negatives returned by this lab may have caused up to 200,000 further Covid-19 infections, and “more than 1,000 avoidable deaths”.

And, according to political non-profit organisation The Good Law Project, this “contributed to soaring rates of infection across the South West and Wales.”

One woman told the organisation that, without a positive PCR result, she missed out on support that she’d otherwise have been entitled to. She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the message from Test and Trace. I was so angry. I am 71 years old, and I was completely on my own. I could have died in my flat and no one would have known.”

In an earlier statement, the Department for Health and Social Care said due diligence was carried out for all government contracts and appointments.

"The Immensa laboratory in Wolverhampton passed an independent quality audit overseen by NHS Test and Trace and is in the early stages of the process for UKAS accreditation," a spokesperson said.

"We will confirm any next steps and reviews once the UK Health Security Agency has completed its investigation into this issue."