10 Nov Coronavirus: Rapid COVID-19 tests offered to all local councils after Liverpool trial | Politics News
Rapid turnaround coronavirus tests have been offered to every local authority in England, as the government aims to expand mass testing across the country.
Liverpool has been the first part of the country to trial mass testing for all – including those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Lateral flow tests, with a turnaround time of under an hour, have been available since Friday for people who live and work in the city.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed he is now aiming to roll-out similar schemes across England and the rest of the UK.
“I can confirm that we are rolling out the sort of mass testing that we are seeing in Liverpool – and indeed we earlier piloted in Stoke-on-Trent – across 66 different local authorities,” he told Sky News.
“Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England, saying that we could make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give you the result in 15 minutes.
“Sixty-six expressed an interest in the first instance, I’m now expecting a whole load more.
“If you’re a director of public health and you haven’t signed up for this yet, please do let us know and we’ll get you on board.
“And, of course, across the devolved nations.”
It has been reported that discussions have already been held over Nottinghamshire to become the next region to deploy mass testing.
At a Downing Street news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government was sending out hundreds of thousands of rapid lateral flow tests to local authorities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Department of Health and Social Care said an initial batch of 600,000 rapid coronavirus tests would be sent out to local public health leaders in England this week.
Each would receive 10,000 tests as part of a new pilot to enable them to start testing priority groups, which would then be followed up with weekly allocations equivalent to 10% of local populations.
It will be up to local directors of public health to determine how to allocate the new tests, based on the specific needs of their communities.
Mr Johnson also revealed the government was working with universities to establish similar mass testing capacity for students.
The prime minister urged people in Liverpool to “get yourself along to a testing centre”, adding: “The more people get tested the better we can protect that great city, and drive the disease down in Liverpool – so do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community.”