A FLINTSHIRE mum has described her frustration after not being able to book a coronavirus test for her daughter - who she is keeping off school as a precaution.

Linda Johns, 47, said her 11-year-old daughter, who has just started her first term at high school in Cheshire, first came down with a bad cold and high temperature on Monday.

She kept her daughters off school and was advised to book a test.

But she says that has so far proved impossible, and her daughter is now suffering from other symptoms, leaving her not knowing what to do for the best.

Linda, who lives in Northop Hall, said: "She came back to me on Sunday with a temperature and quite a bad cold. I looked at the symptoms online and thought it was best to keep her off school, she's just started high school, as a precaution.

"I spoke to the school on Monday, they asked me the circumstances and suggested that we try and get a test. I have an older daughter at the same school and kept her off as a precaution too.

"During yesterday (Monday), my youngest daughter started experiencing more symptoms. She couldn't smell or taste properly, which could have been a cold, but then she started being very sick and tired, which are again symptoms coronavirus in children. I'm no GP, I don't know if she's got it or not, but my thoughts were, as a precaution, to keep her and my other daughter off school."

She said the advice to parents is not clear, a situation made worse by the difficulty in getting a test, which has been acknowledged by the Welsh Government.

She added: "I think it's a bit muddy. I don't think people know what they should do.

"This morning I've been on the telephone and online as well since eight o'clock. There is no answer, it will just ring out for half an hour.

"I just wanted to highlight the difficulties facing parents. It's a bit of a nightmare. What do we do? Will we be fined if we take them out of school and can't get a test?

"It's just a shambles."

She added: "I've been trying Public Health Wales and the local testing site near me in Deeside. It's an 0300 number, you call that for half and hour and the phone just goes dead. You can't get through. And you can't just turn up, you need to book."

Linda says that, in addition to her daughters' health, she is concerned about other family members she may come into contact with. All in addition to worrying about keeping her youngest daughter away from her new school when she should be settling in and making new friends.

She said: "Just from my perspective, I need to rule it out. I want to make sure I protect her and others, you don't know who she is going to come into contact with and what their circumstances are.

"I'd rather err on the side of caution than not, but I'm also thinking about how much schoolwork they are missing out on.

"By the time I get through to one of the websites or on one of the telephone numbers it could be a week. If she is positive, and I don't know that she is, how many people could she come into contact with by then? I'm going to err on the side of caution and keep her safe."

She said she didn't want to criticise the school as she felt they were in a difficult position.

Linda added: "I think it's very difficult for the schools. They are going through the same as everyone else."

Last week, the Welsh Government accepted there were issues with people booking tests, which was highlighted by several people sharing their experiences including Wrexham student and mum of one Kirstie Penman, 21, who was informed by her GP that she would need to get a test for coronavirus.

After being driven across the English border to Telford for the nearest available test, she was told by a staff member that she could not be tested because she had not received a QR code when she booked.

The Welsh Government tweeted: "Some people are having issues booking a coronavirus test.

"We’re working with @GOVUK to ensure this is resolved quickly so you can get a test close to home.

"Contact tracing teams and testing staff are still working their hardest to keep you safe."

In the latest daily statement from Public Health Wales Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response, said parents should be led by the advice from schools or their local authority.

Dr Shanker said: “As children return to schools, I understand that parents will be concerned at reports of positive cases. I would urge you to follow advice from the school or local authority and only withdraw children from school when asked to do so. Social distancing measures that are in place are designed to prevent the spread of the disease beyond the ‘bubbles’ established in schools.

“Again it is important that children maintain regular handwashing throughout the day, and on returning home, and parents’ help with this is vital.

“We are now seeing a steady increase in cases in a number of communities across Wales, and our investigations show that many of these have been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing.

“This has resulted in the spread of the virus to other groups of people.

“We continue to appeal to everyone to please remember that, even if you feel that you would not be badly affected by COVID-19 if you were to test positive, should you pass it on to older or more vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues it could be extremely serious and even fatal.

“Coronavirus has not gone away. It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus – that is, by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly."

Public Health Wales advice is to book an appointment for a test - if you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of or change to your normal sense of smell or taste - at the online portal https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/