Boris Johnson and the government announced yesterday that mass coronavirus testing in Liverpool will start this week. Liverpool has been selected as the UK’s trial area for such mass testing.
This is set to begin on Friday, 6 November.
The official press release and the statements made by both the City and Metro mayors (Joe Anderson and Steve Rotheram) makes it clear that this is an important and key development in the UK’s battle with coronavirus. Since our city was the first to be placed into Tier 3 measures (which have had a positive effect in reducing new infections), it is important to be able to track the effectiveness of full lockdown (with the stated exceptions of schools and universities) on infection rates.
Mass Coronavirus Testing In Liverpool: What You Need To Know
1. Will testing be mandatory for everyone?
Not at this time, and there is no indication that there are any plans to force anyone to be tested who does not wish to be. The army will not be knocking at the door with a swab.
2. What is the role of the armed forces?
The armed forces are being deployed to provide logistical support for the testing effort. There is no indication that troops or armed personnel are being deployed on the streets.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Armed Forces have worked with colleagues across government to increase the national testing capacity. We will be deploying 2000 talented Armed Forces personnel to, once again, rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to ensure we go above and beyond for the Liverpool community – we will have your backs throughout the trial.
The military are uniquely placed to help with the fight against COVID-19 and remain ready to support with the mass testing initiative in Liverpool along”
3. What types of test are being used?
According to the press release, there are 3 different methods being used for testing. Traditional swab tests, Lateral Flow tests and LAMP technology. Lateral Flow tests are a rapid, non laboratory testing procedure that does use swabs, but can detect the virus within one hour. It is hoped that using a combination of these testing methods will not only give a clear picture of the virus incidence, but also, how effective rapid testing is and if it can be used more widely.
4. Can I get a home test?
Testing locations, as stated by the government:
“Testing will be carried out in new and existing test sites, using home kits, in hospitals and care home settings, and schools, universities and workplaces.”
It is not clear yet as to what tests will be administered at home, or how this will operate in different areas of the city.
5. What happens if I am positive?
Anyone who tests positive, using either a lateral flow test or an existing swab test, must self-isolate along with their household immediately and their contacts will be traced. Those who test negative will need to continue to follow all national guidance.
6. How long will I have to isolate for if I am positive?
This is still being discussed. It may be that the length of isolation will be reduced from 14 days to a lower length of time.
7. Will I get any financial compensation?
Eligible individuals who test positive – and contacts who are required to self-isolate – will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test ordered through NHS Test and Trace.
8. Why should we co-operate?
It is in the interest of the national health effort against this disease that people volunteer for testing, particularly if they are in professions which have a high amount of contact with people. This will assist in helping health care providers and professionals advise the government on the correct approach to both easing lockdown towards Christmas and for any future lockdown measures to be implemented. The more people get tested, as a % of the city population, the better informed we all are, and therefore can potentially be eased out of lockdown sooner and enjoy a family Christmas.
9. Where can I get updated information?
To find out more about the mass coronavirus testing in Liverpool staying tuned to local news outlets such as the Liverpool Echo and through TV, social media and twitter, but ensure that you are looking at a trusted news source!