Operation Moonshot Offers Entire Population of Liverpool Weekly Coronavirus Tests- Army Called in to Help.
More than 2,000 members of the armed forces will arrive in Liverpool on Thursday to help deliver thousands of what ministers have described as “rapid turnaround” tests. These offer results in just an hour, rather than waiting the more usual 24 – 48 hours. Ministers believe the move will identify many of those who have COVID-19 but do not know it and so it will help to reduce the spread of the disease.
The pilot program will also act as a test for how a wider scheme might be delivered across the whole country. The tests open up the possibility that thousands of people without symptoms will be ordered to self-isolate for a fortnight. But, on the positive side, ministers say that the move will also allow the city to return to normal more quickly than others not receiving the tests.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the rollout would help suppress the virus and “give residents and workers some peace of mind”. The scheme will use a combination of existing swab tests and new lateral flow tests, which can turn around results within an hour without the need to be processed in a lab.
The test will include nose and mouth swabs that will be sent off to centralised labs and be supplemented by the revolutionary £5 pregnancy-style checks that produce results within 15 minutes. 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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