Mass coronavirus testing used in Liverpool will be rolled out in nearly 70 other local agencies, the Health Secretary said today.
Matt Hancock announced that areas like Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the West Midlands will receive the rapid Covid-19 tests. London, Birmingham, Manchester and Coventry are also among the cities where numerous tests are carried out.
At least 600,000 lateral flow tests will be shipped across the UK this week to kick off the next phase of the mass coronavirus tests that ministers hope can finally ship the virus packaging.
The antigen tests can determine if a person is currently infected with coronavirus – even if they have no symptoms – and the technology can give results within an hour.
Everyone in Liverpool has been able to get tested for the disease since Friday when the large Army-backed program was first launched. The city, home to 500,000 people, was the first to be involved in No10's ambitious "Operation Moonshot" – a mission that examines millions of asymptomatic people every day.
Mass coronavirus tests being done in Liverpool are being carried out in 66 local authorities, the health minister said today
Matt Hancock spoke on Sky News on Tuesday about the mass coronavirus tests used in Liverpool being carried out in 66 local authorities
Side flow tests have been available since Friday for people living and working in Liverpool, which was hit hard by the coronavirus in wave two. Two thousand soldiers were drafted to support the pilot test program (picture)
Is your city getting the next fast tests?
Although Mr Hancock said there were 66 agencies, the Department of Health today released a list of 67 agencies that will receive the tests. These are:
- Bark and Dagenham
- Blackburn and Darwen
- To bury
- City of London
- County Durham
- East Riding of Yorkshire
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Kingston upon Hull
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Kingston upon Thames
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- North Tyneside
- Nottingham City
- Redcar and Cleveland
- Richmond upon Thames
- South Tyneside
- St. Helen
- Tower hamlet
- Waltham Forest
Stoke on Trent, Liverpool and Lancashire had cross-flow tests carried out earlier this week.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, Hancock claimed 66 local authorities had already expressed interest in the mass testing program. More are expected to register in the coming weeks.
Although Mr Hancock said there were 66 agencies, the Department of Health today released a list of 67 agencies that will receive the rapid tests.
He added: “I can confirm that we are introducing the kind of mass testing that we see in Liverpool and in fact we used to pilot over 66 local authorities in Stoke-on-Trent.
& # 39; Last night I wrote to the public health directors of all local authorities in England that we are making these brilliant new cross-flow tests that give results in 15 minutes available and making them available to public health directors across the country can .
"Sixty-six showed interest in the first place, I'm expecting a whole load more now."
Mr Hancock also said that mass testing like the introduction of vaccines was being done across the UK rather than just England.
He added: “The UK government has bought the vaccine for the whole of the UK and it is being rolled out across the UK with the same priority regardless of where you live in that country.
"The same goes for mass testing, making sure we roll this out across the UK."
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Hancock said the "much more versatile" cross-river tests would be introduced in Nottinghamshire as well as "Yorkshire, the West Midlands, other parts of the North West and all of the North East and other parts".
According to last night's reveal, around 600,000 lateral flow test kits should be distributed to more than 50 public health directors across England in the coming days.
After an initial batch of 10,000, the tests will be distributed weekly, which corresponds to 10 percent of the population, the government said.
Local health professionals will be able to assign tests based on the needs of their communities, and it is hoped that the introduction will allow priority and high-risk groups to be tested weekly.
Talks were reportedly taking place on Monday afternoon that Nottinghamshire should become the next region for mass coronavirus testing.
Stoke on Trent and Lancashire were given cross-flow tests earlier this week, the government said.
London boroughs and the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle are among the places where a series of tests from No. 10 will be aired this week.
There have been side river tests in Liverpool since Friday, asking people who live and work there to get tested for Covid-19 even if they don't have symptoms.
One of the major challenges in suppressing the outbreak is identifying "silent carriers" of the coronavirus so that they can self-isolate before they spread the disease further.
Queues formed outside the new test centers and people waited about 45 minutes outside the Liverpool Tennis Center before it opened. There are now 16 test locations across the city.
Liverpool Public Health Director Matt Ashton said the mass tests showed positive signs after testing thousands of people on the first day of the pilot.
The program aims to test up to 50,000 people a day once they are fully functional, he added.
City Mayor Joe Anderson said Monday that the program has discovered around 162 people with the coronavirus who otherwise might not have been diagnosed.
That was 0.7 percent of the 23,170 people who have been wiped since Friday noon.
Cases are collected by NHS Test and Trace and those with a positive result must immediately self-isolate with their household for at least 10 days.
Last night, Mr Johnson urged the people of Liverpool to take part in the volunteer pilot "for your friends, for your relatives, for your community" to "fight the disease".
He said at a press conference on Monday on Downing Street: “Our first pilot took off from Liverpool on Friday in collaboration with Liverpool City Council.
“We tested thousands of people there, but there is a lot more to do.
People stand in line at a coronavirus testing center at the Liverpool Tennis Center in Wavertree which is part of the mass Covid-19 testing in Liverpool on Friday November 6th
Soldiers at the Exhibition Center in Liverpool, one of the testing centers that is part of the Covid-19 mass tests in Liverpool
Brigadier Joe Fossey, who coordinates mass testing in Liverpool, told the Downing Street press conference Monday night: "What we are testing now is a possible way out of the lockdown and a way to get on with our lives." He's doing a cross flow test
WHAT IS OPERATION MOONSHOT AND WHAT'S GOING ON IN LIVERPOOL?
Operation Moonshot is the government's plan to have millions of people tested and given a result on the same day.
Hospital staff, nurses and many employees would be routinely tested to help boost the economy.
However, there have been serious doubts as to whether number 10 is capable of achieving this.
The Ministry of Health currently has a testing capacity of around 500,000.
And only 15 percent of people who have a personal test currently get a result within 24 hours.
Moonshot is seen as the only way out of the constant loosening and tightening of lockdown curbs without a viable vaccine.
The city of 500,000 people is being used by officials as a pilot to see if it can run rapid, large-scale tests.
The study uses tests that give results in about an hour, as well as the normal PCR swab tests that are already being done in centers across the country.
Originally, hospitals in the city were supposed to have a 20-minute test that could be used to routinely test all employees. Today it turned out that the machines are less than 50 percent accurate.
The tests continue to be done in small programs for hospital staff in Liverpool but there are now concerns that they are not good enough.
“So if you are in Liverpool, please go to a testing center – there are currently 19 and more are to come and the more people tested the better we can protect this great city and contain the disease, Liverpool.
"So do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community."
His comments were confirmed by Brigadier Joe Fossey, who coordinates mass tests in Liverpool.
He told the press conference, "What we are testing now is a possible way out of the lockdown and a way to get on with our lives."
Two thousand soldiers were drafted to support the pilot program of around 500,000 residents in Liverpool.
There were serious doubts as to how the program could be implemented at the national level if all cities needed the help of troops.
Using Liverpool as a reference – with 2,000 soldiers per half a million population – that would mean Britain would have to deploy 260,000 soldiers and women – more than three times the number of troops currently serving in the British Army (79,300) Statista.
However, the Liverpool pilot will only last 10 days, suggesting soldiers in the UK will be moved depending on where the rapid pop-up tests are taking place.
Lateral flow tests, which work like pregnancy tests and provide results in less than an hour, are used in conjunction with existing PCR swab tests.
Both ultimately work the same way, amplifying genetic material and then looking for signs of the virus.
However, lateral flow devices have lower specificity and sensitivity than PCR tests, which means they are not as accurate in identifying true positive or negative coronavirus cases.
The lateral flow uses a different type of enzyme, which allows the test to be done at a temperature which makes it faster but less accurate.
The PCR uses a different type of enzyme and the process has to be repeated at different temperatures, which means it will take longer but be more accurate.
PCR tests also need to be read by a lab technician, which slows down the process of returning a result.
Fast turnaround times for test results are seen as critical to a smooth contact tracing system.
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