All of North East to be part of Covid mass testing programme in bid to drive down case levels

Every council area in the North East has signed up to a mass testing programme for the coronavirus.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 2:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 4:50 pm

Sunderland, South Tyneside, County Durham, Hartlepool and Northumberland have agreed to the programme alongside Gateshead, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton

The Government also said yesterday some 600,000 lateral flow test kits will be issued to directors of public health across England in coming days.

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British Army soldiers, 1st battalion Coldstream Guards, staff a coronavirus testing centre set up at the Merseyside Caribbean Council Community Centre in Liverpool, north west England, on November 10, 2020 during a city-wide mass testing pilot operation. -

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The initial batch will be followed up with a weekly allocation of the tests, equivalent to 10% of their population.

Now it has been confirmed every local authority area in the region will be part of the programme after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued a list of those to join the scheme.

Directors of public health were prioritised for the first phase of rapid community testing based on the local prevalence of Covid-19 and expressions of interest to the DHSC.

A member of the public uses a swab before passing it to a waiting member of Test and Trace at the mass and rapid testing centre for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at a Tennis centre in Liverpool.

Lateral flow tests, with a turnaround time of under an hour, have been available since Friday for people who live and work in Liverpool and do not have symptoms.

Speaking on Sky News earlier today, Tuesday, November 10, Mr Hancock said: “Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England saying we can make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give results in 15 minutes, and we can make them available to directors of public health right across the country.

“Sixty-six expressed an interest in the first instance, I’m now expecting a whole load more.”

Mr Hancock also said that mass testing, like a vaccine rollout, would be across the UK, not just England.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck welcomed the testing scheme and said: “Mass testing is the way out of this and it is good this is happening, it’s late, very late in the day, but at least we are getting it now.

The following local authorities will take part in mass testing:

Barking and Dagenham

Bexley

Birmingham

Blackburn and Darwen

Blackpool

Bolton

Brent

Bristol

Bury

Calderdale

Camden

City of London

County Durham

Coventry

Darlington

Doncaster

Dudley

East Riding of Yorkshire

Enfield

Essex

Gateshead

Greenwich

Hackney

Halton

Hammersmith and Fulham

Hartlepool

Hertfordshire

Kingston upon Hull

Islington

Kensington and Chelsea

Kingston upon Thames

Knowsley

Lambeth

Lewisham

Luton

Manchester

Middlesborough

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newham

North Tyneside

Northumberland

Nottingham City

Nottinghamshire

Oldham

Redbridge

Redcar and Cleveland

Richmond upon Thames

Rochdale

Salford

Sefton

South Tyneside

Southwark

St Helen's

Staffordshire

Stockport

Stockton-on-Tees

Sunderland

Tameside

Tower Hamlets

Trafford

Wakefield

Waltham Forest

Wandsworth

Warrington

Wigan

Wirral

Wolverhampton

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