Liverpool is piloting city-wide Covid testing with rapid results - but how will it work?

Covid tests will be offered to everyone across Liverpool under the first trial of mass city testing in England.

Anyone living or working in the city can be tested regularly from Friday 6 November, even if they have no symptoms, with follow-up tests every couple of weeks.

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Results within an hour

The new, rapid turnaround tests can give results within an hour and, if successful, could be rolled out to “millions” by Christmas, according to the government.

The provision of around half a million of these tests comes at the request of local leaders, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

The aim is to find asymptomatic cases in an effort to help prevent and reduce transmission in the community. It is thought around four fifths of people who are infected with coronavirus show no symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked local leaders for volunteering to be part of the first city-wide population testing pilot, stating, “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.

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“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.”

How will it work?

Testing will be carried out using a combination of existing swab tests, as well as new rapid turnaround lateral flow tests which can deliver results within an hour.

Around 2,000 military personnel will be on hand to help with planning logistics, with around 30 units to be deployed across the city.

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There will also be Lamp (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) technology deployed in Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for NHS staff, promising to deliver significant volumes of tests.

Testing will be carried out in both new and existing sites across the city, including in hospitals, care home settings, universities, workplaces and using at-home kits.

Members of the public can book a test online, by walk-up, or by invitation from the local authority.