The government has announced Liverpool will become the first city in the UK to trial mass coronavirus testing.
From Friday (November 6), the entire population of Liverpool will be offered tests – even if asymptomatic – in an attempt to track every case of Covid and thus break the spread of transmission.
The pilot scheme will use existing swab tests, as well as lateral flow tests which can turn around results within an hour.
Tests will be available in a number of locations – including schools, universities, hospitals, care homes and workplaces – and can be booked in person, online or by invitation from the city council.
People who receive positive results will will receive a text or email from NHS test-and-trace staff and will be asked to self-isolate and share details of close contacts.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.
“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.”