Targeted testing programme to come to Coventry

Published Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Coventry is to be part of a national programme to roll-out targeted mass coronavirus testing.

Coventry City Council is one of 66 local authorities to be part of the scheme, which was announced by the Government this morning.

It will use the new lateral flow tests to be used by people without symptoms and give results in under an hour, like the ones used in the current Liverpool mass testing pilot.

But unlike Liverpool, where the scheme is available to every resident in the city, the 66 local authorities will receive an initial batch of 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices to enable them to start testing priority groups.

In all, each area is expected to receive enough tests for 10 per cent of its population as part of the pilot – meaning around 32,000 in Coventry.

The tests will only be used for people who do not display COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a test immediately by visiting the NHS website or calling 119.

Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health at Coventry City Council, welcomed the news of the additional tests.

She said: “Anything that will help in the battle to reduce the number of positive cases in the city is to be welcomed.

“It was the reason why we were happy to be part of the pilot, but after today’s confirmation the work will start as we work with partners about how we can safely and effectively implement a scheme before we then prioritise those who will receive them.

“But the most important thing to stress is that testing on its own is not the answer to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prevention is always better than cure and following the simple ‘hands, face, space’ advice will significantly help to reduce the spread of the virus in the first place. We are in the middle of a national lockdown and must do all we can over the coming weeks to bring down the infection rate.”

Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, also welcomed the news but agreed it was not solely the answer to the wider issue of COVID-19 and people should not be complacent.

He said: “The government has failed to deliver the world-class test and trace service it promised in May this year, which is a mistake as we have always been clear that good, effective testing is a key weapon in beating coronavirus.

“Although this news of the additional testing for the city is welcome, it is noticeable it comes with no additional funding for rolling it out or implementing which means additional expense to all local authorities.

“We will of course do that, but all local authorities need to be recognised and reimbursed for the considerable work they are all doing in helping to fight the pandemic.”

Details of how the mass testing will work in Coventry are expected to be announced next week.

The new, national scheme is not aimed at anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus as such people should immediately book a free test by visiting the NHS website.

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