A shortage of lateral flow tests threatens to impede Wiltshire's New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Devizes, Boots had a supply of the test kits delivered this morning, but by 11am they had all gone.

Before Rowlands opened today the chemists in the Little Brittox had a sign on its front window saying that no tests were available.

And when Morrisons had opened the pharmacy had also erected a sign saying that it had no test kits.

The situation locally reflects a national shortage. Pharmacies across England report having run out of test kits for distribution to the public before Christmas, and have been unable to receive additional kits as the supply chain has been disrupted by the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.

People turning to the Government website to order a test kit were also out of luck.

This morning the site carried a message saying: “Sorry, there are no home delivery slots left for rapid lateral flow tests right now. The 119 service does not have access to more home delivery slots right now. You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999.”

The UK Health Security Agency said it encouraged people to revisit the sites “every few hours” if they were unable to order tests, as more would become available, and to use any tests they may already have before ordering or collecting more kits.

A spokesperson said: “Despite unprecedented demand, we are continuing to supply millions of rapid lateral flow tests every day. Our total delivery capacity has doubled to 900,000 test kits per day since Saturday, December 18 so more people can order tests.

“During periods of exceptional demand there may be temporary pauses in ordering or receiving tests, to ensure we manage distribution across the system and support changing requirements for LFD [lateral flow device] and PCR tests, and delivery capacity was reduced over Christmas and the bank holiday.”

The current shortage of test kits could cause confusion for those planning to go out to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, as the government has advised that revellers should take a test first.

On Monday the government declined to impose further Covid curbs in England, allowing nightclubs and pubs to open for New Year’s Eve and giving other mass events the go-ahead.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said; “Of course people should remain cautious as we approach new year celebrations and take a lateral flow test if that makes sense.”