'Millions' of Covid tests giving results in minutes to be rolled out to schools and universities, Matt Hancock says

Tests for coronavirus which give positive or negative results in minutes are to be rolled out to schools, the Health Secretary has said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Matt Hancock said that lateral flow tests - which don't require a lab or a machine - will be rolled out to schools and universities.

He said the roll out began on Wednesday, starting with Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent was one of three areas placed on Tier 2 restrictions on Thursday after Covid-19 cases reached 185.7 per 100,000 in the week up to October 17.

Mr Hancock said: "I’m delighted to be able to tell the House that yesterday we began the roll-out of lateral flow tests to schools and universities.

"Lateral flow tests don’t require a lab or a machine – the kit gives you the result within minutes.

"We’ve successfully purchased many millions of these tests and they’ll allow us to both find the virus where it spreads and to reduce the disruption that virus control measures inevitably create."

Daily testing capacity is now more than 370,000, the Health Secretary said, adding that point of care lab testing at hospitals had been rolled out last week allowing repeat testing of staff and patients.

On vaccines, he said: “I can inform the House we’re initiating human challenge trials to speed up the development of a coronavirus vaccine and improve its safety.

“We’re contributing £33 million to back these trials.”