Liverpool First City To Trial Regular Mass Coronavirus Testing
Starting from Friday, people across the city will be offered tests - even if asymptomatic - in order to more accurately identify people who need to self-isolate and break up chains of transmission.
The pilot in Liverpool - which has one of the highest rates of coronavirus deaths in England - will use both existing swab tests and new lateral flow tests, which can provide a result within an hour without the need to use a lab.
Around 2,000 military personnel will be deployed to assist with the operation.
If the trial is successful, it is hoped it will provide a blueprint of how fast and accurate Covid-19 testing can be delivered on scale.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "These tests will help identify the many thousands of people in the city who don't have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing.
"Dependent on their success in Liverpool, we will aim to distribute millions of these new rapid tests between now and Christmas and empower local communities to use them to drive down transmission in their areas.
"It is early days, but this kind of mass testing has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against Covid-19."
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Tests will take place in a number of locations across the city - including hospitals, care homes, schools, universities and workplaces - and can be booked in person, online or by invitation.
Positive results will be collected by NHS Test and Trace and delivered by email and text, with cases published as part of the daily figures.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "During negotiations with central government, myself and Steve Rotheram [Mayor of Liverpool city region] have always highlighted the need for enhanced public health intervention measures in Liverpool and the wider city region, and we were keen that we should be considered for any new strategies to tackle the worrying rise in Covid-19.
"We are pleased that our numerous conversations have resulted in Liverpool becoming a pilot for mass testing, which will help to quickly identify people who have the virus and reduce transmission substantially.
"We are seeing a slow reduction in figures in Liverpool which shows we are on the right path and residents and businesses are working together and following guidelines for the greater good.
"We hope this new initiative boosts our efforts, and we will continue to see the numbers of positive cases drop across the city."
England is due to begin a new national lockdown from Thursday, lasting until 2 December.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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