Brentwood and Ongar MP, Alex Burghart, has welcomed the news that Essex will benefit from the Government’s latest expansion of Covid-19 testing.
The Prime Minister has said 600,000 rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders this week – including in Essex.
In total, tests will be issued to over 50 local health directors across England, as part of the next phase of the government’s plan to expand asymptomatic testing for Covid-19. Each area will receive an initial batch of 10,000 rapid tests as part of a new pilot to enable them to start testing priority groups.
This innovative new testing technology – which is already being rolled out in Liverpool – can provide results within an hour without needing to be processed in a lab.
Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals will help identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enable those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate, which can help drive down the R rate locally and save lives
Alex said: “This is great news for Essex and my constituents in Brentwood and Ongar. The Government has already reached a major milestone for testing by delivering on its target capacity of 500,000 a day. Mass testing will play a crucial role in tackling coronavirus, and it is excellent to see the Government deploying these new rapid-turnaround tests which can help identify thousands of people who don’t have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “Last week we rolled out mass testing in Liverpool using new, rapid technology so we can detect this virus quicker than ever before, even in people who don’t have symptoms. Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal. I am delighted to say 10,000 of these tests will now be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to over 50 directors of public health as part of our asymptomatic testing strategy. I want to thank all directors of public health for their support and efforts over the past months to help us tackle this virus, bring it under control and get the country back to what we love doing.”
For more information please contact Alex at alex.burghart.mp@parliamentuk
Notes to Editors
- Rolling out 600,000 rapid lateral flow tests to priority and high-risk groups. We have announced that 600,000 rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders this week. Test kits will be issued to more than 50 Directors of Public Health across England to enable local teams to direct and deliver community testing based on their local knowledge. This increase in asymptomatic testing will help pick up more cases, stop the spread of the virus and support communities and critical industries (DHSC, Press release, 9 November 2020, link).
- Building a huge new testing regime – meaning we now have one of the best testing rates in the world and the largest testing capacity in Europe – and we have reached our target for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. From a starting point of around 3,000 tests in March, we now have capacity to process over 500,000 every day – with capacity almost doubling since the end of August. We have also established seven Lighthouse labs to process tests and have increased the number of testing sites to more than 600 – and with 40 new test sites opening every week, the median distance people are now travelling to a test centre is just 2.8 miles