Mass Covid-19 testing to be rolled out in Doncaster

Doncaster will be among dozens of areas to receive coronavirus tests with a turnaround time of under an hour following the initial pilot in Liverpool.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 4:25 pm

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said today that mass coronavirus testing will be rolled out across 66 council areas.

The lateral flow tests have a fast turnaround time and are for people who live and work in the areas and for those who do not have symptoms.

Doncaster Council has been contacted for comment.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley. Picture: Marie Caley

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher welcomed the announcement and said that mass testing will play a ‘crucial role’ in tackling Covid-19.

Each area will receive a batch of around 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices as part of a new pilot to enable them to start testing priority groups.

Directors of public health will determine how to prioritise the allocation of these new tests, based on the specific needs of their communities, and will determine how people in the local area are tested.

They will be supported by NHS Test and Trace to expand testing programmes in their area through access to training and clinical and operational guidance.

This initial 600,000 batch across the 66 areas will then be followed up with a weekly allocation of lateral flow antigen tests.

It is not clear when the testing will become available in Doncaster.

Members of the Armed Forces have been working in Liverpool to enable the working of the pilot scheme. The city’s mayor said 23,170 have been tested since 12pm Friday, November 6 to 12pm on Monday, November 9 with 0.7 per cent of people testing positive.

Mr Fletcher said: “We have already reached a major milestone for testing – delivering on our 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 said: “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 lovedoing.”

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of Public Health Doncaster, said: “Following the announcement about local authorities being given greater control of local testing, we look forward to working with the government, local people and our partners across South Yorkshire in the coming days to confirm plans, and we will provide a further update in due course.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.