Entire population of Liverpool to be offered weekly coronavirus tests as troops called in to help


THE first city-wide Covid testing blitz will start this week under radical plans to bring the virus under control.

All Liverpool residents, including children, will be offered weekly checks from Friday.

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Mass testing will be rolled out in Liverpool from Friday

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Mass testing will be rolled out in Liverpool from FridayCredit: London News Pictures
Liverpool city centre amidst the spread of coronavirus

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Liverpool city centre amidst the spread of coronavirusCredit: EPA

Other ­cities will soon follow suit if the pilot is deemed a success, as Boris Johnson seeks to take advantage of scaled-up testing.

The PM says mass testing has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against Covid. Ministers hope the approach will screen out and isolate silent spreaders and slash cases.

Scientists say mass testing could halve the R-rate, the number of people each Covid victim goes on to infect.

It is between 1.1 to 1.3, meaning daily cases are rising by about three per cent. 

Infections in the North West are among the highest in the country.

Under the scheme, everyone in Liverpool will be eligible for a test, even if they have no symptoms. With a population of 900,000, it could mean 1.8 million checks during the two-week pilot.

 

Other cities will also be screened in coming weeks if the trial is successful, as more rapid turnaround tests are approved.

It comes as swab capacity has reached 500,000 and millions of pregnancy-style kits are set to be rolled out nationally.

The PM said: “These tests will help identify the thousands of people in the city who don’t have symptoms but can infect others without knowing.”

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The Armed Forces will help deliver testing in Liverpool.

It will include nose and mouth swabs sent off to centralised labs and will be supplemented by the revolutionary £5 pregnancy-style checks that produce results within 15 minutes.

And NHS staff in Liverpool will also trial new tests that can give an answer in about an hour.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’m delighted we can roll out mass testing to whole cities, starting with Liverpool.”

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