Staff at a coronavirus testing site in Tikenham have told the public that they can go to Qatar for local swabs by pretending they live in Aberdeen.
Entering a postcode 400 miles from the testing site at Tikenham Stadium allows people to book a test near their home, but those whose local addresses are said to be true will have to travel several hundred miles to another center.
On Tuesday, Matt Hancock urged people not to “game the system” by changing their postcodes to get local tests, but could not explain why it worked.
“We all need to take a responsible approach and let our constituencies know that there are a lot of tests available, that the average travel distance is 5..6 miles and people will take it seriously and not play the system,” he said.
Munir Wilson, MP for Tikenham’s Libby Dame, raised the issue in parliament and called on the government to raise the issue with MPs.
He said people in his constituency were advised that if they put an Aberdeen postcode on the system, they would be able to take the test at Tickenham.
Twitter users said they were informed of the apparent error by staff at the center.
It is unknown why Tokenham residents were able to book a test claiming to be in Scotland, but the loophole seems to have closed.
An Aberdeen postcode was entered into the official examination portal on Tuesday afternoon and no test results were found.
Mrs Wilson told The Telegraph: “Some of my constituents contacted me and told me what they were told to do.
“What people are advised to do is keep Aberdeen in the system, insert a QR code, and that QR code allows them to take a test in Twinkenham.”
“There is clearly no capacity problem at the test sites. Twinham has never been particularly busy.
“It’s ridiculous that you have to play the system this way to test and obviously need to fix it, whether it’s a computer error or the capability of labs.
“I don’t know if the issue is with the kit or with the people.
“We still don’t have a clear explanation for what the problem is.”