The Department of Health and Social Care said an initial 600,000 lateral flow test kits are being issued to some local areas in the days ahead.
That number will be divided into some 10,000 tests to be made available to each of the 67 areas, and will be used to start testing priority groups. This will then be followed up with a weekly allocation.
It follows a mass testing pilot in Liverpool, where lateral flow tests have been available since Friday for residents who do not have symptoms of Covid-19. The new tests have a turnaround time of less than one hour.
What are the areas that will introduce mass testing?
Local authorities in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Luton, and several London boroughs will receive the tests.
The following areas are included:
- Barking and Dagenham
- Blackburn and Darwen
- City of London
- County Durham
- East Riding of Yorkshire
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Kingston upon Hull
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Kingston upon Thames
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- North Tyneside
- Nottingham City
- Redcar and Cleveland
- Richmond upon Thames
- South Tyneside
- St Helen’s
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest
Stoke on Trent, Liverpool and Lancashire have already received the tests.
How does the new test work?
The test involves taking a swab from the nose or throat. The swab will then be added to an extraction tube, and drops of extraction solution will be added to a test cartridge.
Those taking the test will have to wait between 20 to 30 minutes before the results are revealed on a strip in the cartridge, which looks similar to a pregnancy test.
The strip will have the letters C and T stacked on top of one another. Colouration beside the letter C will mean a negative result.
If the result is positive, you will see colouration appear next to the C and T. In some instances, the colouration next to the T might be fainter, but both outcomes mean you have tested positive for Covid-19.
If the strip yields no colouration, or colouration next to the T only, the test is invalid or has failed to work, and you will have to do it again.
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