A RETIRED social worker whose wife has been shielding since the start of lockdown says trying to book a coronavirus test is “like something from a Monty Python sketch”.

Barry Dawson, 70, of Jasmine Way, Clacton, was recently informed he had been in contact with people who had then gone on to test positive for Covid-19.

The alert came from the NHS’s Test and Trace service following a trip to a pub in Liverpool, in addition to being admitted to hospital after suffering a fall.

He was also advised by his son that members of his grandson’s local football team had, too, become infected with the virus.

Before long, Mr Dawson says he started to develop a cough and a temperature, which are two of the symptoms associated with coronavirus.

“I might be being paranoid but I am sounding like Rod Stewart on a bad night,” he said.

“I do not feel that bad but I have been displaying symptoms, so I feel I should be given some piece of mind for my wife more than anything.”

Mr Dawson’s wife, who is 57, has a heart condition and has previously battled cancer so was required to shield for three months.

Since her husband first raised his health concerns, she has become ill and is now bedridden. For both her safety, and the safety of others, Mr Dawson has been attempting to book a coronavirus test since Monday.

Despite phoning three times, and waiting for more than three hours, he is yet to be booked in.

He added: “It is honestly like a Monty Python sketch.

“I was on the phone for an hour, only to be told to call back later because they had no availability in my area, so I did.

“Then I was on the phone for nearly two hours, and I even managed watch the entire first episode of Des while waiting on the phone.

“I phoned again yesterday and in the end the line just hung up.”

This Saturday, a pop-up testing site, which is being run by the Army, will be located at Harwich International Port.

Mr Dawson says he mentioned this to a lady while on the phone, but claims she knew nothing about it.

“There is a tidal wave of people needing a test, and the infrastructure is failing and cannot cope,” he said.

“It is totally disorganised and an absolute shambles.”