All tests have been cancelled in Northern Ireland for three months. Note that this is for Northern Ireland, which is a different agency to DVSA in the rest of the UK.
This just came through. Driving tests are cancelled across the country for the next two days (19/20 March). Test centres are closing down. They will review the situation after that.
I’m not affected this week, but I have already warned my pupils with tests in the next month to be prepared for them not going ahead. I don’t see how they can do them with the situation developing the way it is.
It isn’t looking good.
Update 19/03/2020, 1.00pm: I have been speaking with many of my pupils who have tests in the next two weeks. I have explained to them that in my opinion there is a strong likelihood that tests are going to be cancelled for the foreseeable future. I pointed out that DVSA only sent out this communication at 9.40pm last night, and it means that ‘after that’ will fall over the weekend – so any further communication is unlikely (based on experience so far) until early next week.
One pupil decided we had better move his test back. I had booked it, and the earliest dates available are mid-June. From what I have heard elsewhere, DVSA is not allowing booking until then, so reading between the lines that is how long the test centres might be closed for. It’s three months.
I’m not saying that will happen. But at the moment it is a distinct possibility.
Update 19/03/2020 5.45pm: All tests have been cancelled in Northern Ireland for three months. Note that this is for Northern Ireland, which is a different agency to DVSA in the rest of the UK.
Last week, I took the decision to do my weekly shopping online for the time being. I shop in Asda several times a week, and usually spend upwards of £150 there on groceries, and similar on fuel (I have a 2% cashback credit card with them, which is one of the drivers for that).
I placed my order last Wednesday, and the earliest delivery slot was Saturday. No problem. But when I came to do it this week, on Tuesday, the entire delivery calendar was booked out (it went as far as next Friday). Click & Collect goes further out, but that was fully booked out until April.
I went on to Morrisons’ website, and their delivery slots are booked out until mid-April. I since read that their site has crashed several times due to demand.
Then I tried Ocado, and was met with a page that said ‘you are no. 687 in a queue of 687. Approximate wait time is 10 minutes’. That was just to access the site! A family friend tried today, and was eight thousand and something out of eight thousand and something! I have since read that Ocado has stopped taking on new customers.
So our wonderful government has overlooked starvation (because you can’t buy anything online) vs infection (because you’re forced to go out) as an outcome of their poor handling of this situation to date. Should be fun if they impose a lockdown, so you can’t go out.
But I decided to go to Asda last night for some essentials. I shouldn’t have bothered. The shelves were nearly all completely empty – no fresh vegetables, virtually no fruit, no meat, no milk (except the kind that often goes off five minute after you open it), no tinned goods, no noodles or pasta of any kind, no bread of any kind, no frozen food except a few pizzas and Yorkshire puddings.
I did manage to get a few things, and when I arrived at the checkout there was a middle-aged couple there before me. They were that type you just want to shoot (and which I have mentioned before). For a start off, there didn’t need to be two of them there at all, but there was, and they did everything as a couple. Of course, they allowed everything to be checked through before even thinking about bagging it, and they bagged everything as a couple before even thinking about paying. Then he got his wallet out, took out a credit card, gave it to her, and she had to lean over the trolley to push it in the card machine and slowly enter the PIN because he was much closer to it to start with.
But what mostly caught my eye was what they had purchased. About twenty bags – and I mean somewhere around that number – of curly kale. I mean, curly kale? What the f—?
I immediately had my suspicions, so when I got home I did a quick Google and – surprise, surprise – some twat (a ‘wellbeing coach’, which explains perfectly) in Malaysia has claimed kale prevents you from catching Coronavirus! And that’s why they had bought the entire shelf stock of it.
The ironic thing is, too much kale is suspected of being bad for you, and the potential problems it can cause looked as if this couple might be susceptible in the first place. Idiots.
Today, I went into Morrisons and did manage to get a few bits. Only a few, though. It seems like every idiot out there has suddenly discovered Kidney Beans, Borlotti Beans, Chickpeas, and so on. I wanted some kidney beans because I’m making a chilli to freeze into portions – something I do regularly, as I do with homemade pasta sauce (there was none of that in Morrisons, either, I noticed). The shelves were empty. The thing is, no one usually touches these things.
Fortunately, the cash & carry wasn’t quite as bad (though it was still bad), and I managed to pick up a couple of catering cans of kidney beans and chopped tomatoes (though they’re not Napolina, but you can’t have everything, I suppose). Far more than I wanted because of the cans sizes, but it was that or nothing. I’ll just have to make more chilli than I intended.
DVSA has sent out an email relating to Coronavirus. I suspect this is especially for the idiots still intent on doing lessons and tests, even if they are unwell.
Basically, do not take anyone to test if you or they feel unwell. Test rearrangements will be free of charge, even if at short notice.
You need to call 0300 200 1122 (8am to 4pm, Monday-Friday) if it’s a short notice cancellation.