Everyone living or working in Liverpool will be offered COVID-19 testing, whether they have symptoms or not, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.
Liverpool will see the first deployment of whole city testing in order to help support the local area to find even more people with coronavirus to control the spread of the virus and gain more data on the number of cases across the city, which are already among the highest per 100,000 in the UK. Testing will begin this week.
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‘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,’ said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
‘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.’
Residents and workers will be tested using a combination of existing swab tests, as well as new lateral flow tests which can rapidly turn around results within an hour without the need to be processed in a lab, as well as LAMP technology due to be deployed in Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for NHS staff. The pilot will help to inform a blueprint for how mass testing can be achieved and how fast and reliable COVID-19 testing can be delivered at scale.
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‘Last month we set out our ambition to use the latest mass testing technologies to bring this virus under control,’’ said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘Mass testing will help us to control this virus, by finding it even before people get symptoms. I’m delighted we can now roll out mass testing to whole cities – starting with the City of Liverpool. Using half a million of the very latest rapid tests, this rollout can help suppress the virus and give residents and workers some peace of mind.’