THE GOVERNMENT has banned people from using a coronavirus testing hack which made it possible to get appointments locally. 

Yesterday we revealed the loophole in the testing system that let people book an appointment in Scotland and be swabbed in Oxford.

Staff at the empty centres encouraged residents to try other postcodes and get a QR code that could be scanned in Oxford

But now, those same staff members have had to turn people away after the government clocked on to the trick. 

Oxfordshire resident Megan Belcher, who had struggled to book a local test on the internet, told the Oxford Mail how easy it had been to get one using the hack.

She said: “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.

“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 was the QR code she used at a city testing site: 

Oxford Mail:

When asked whether people were supposed to be using this trick, or were even allowed to do so, the Department of Health and Social Care today sent us the same statement which it has sent us for the past two days about the subject. 

However today, in ‘background information’, the department has finally clarified that using different postcodes is 'not permitted' and testing sites have been banned from 'processing appointments allocated at different sites'. 

A spokesperson said the issue was 'currently being resolved'. 

On Facebook, we asked if the hack had worked for anybody.

Jamme Craperi said: "Turned away today with a  Glasgow booking. Told that yesterday they would have accepted me, but new guidance issued to them today was not to accept."