Covid: Which areas in England will get rapid turnaround mass testing support?

Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Mass quick turnaround Covid testing will be rolled out across large parts of England after an initial trial run in Liverpool.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that directors of public health across England can now request support to deliver mass asymptomatic coronavirus testing in their local areas.

The government is now issuing the new lateral flow tests, which have been introduced in Liverpool, to dozens of local authorities across England - a list is at the bottom of this page.

Mr Hancock said nearly half (66) of all local authorities across the country have taken up the offer of the new lateral flow tests with a turnaround time of under an hour.

The minister told MPs he had written to every director of public health on Monday and was expecting "a whole load more" to sign up for the tests.

The tests have been available since Friday for people who live and work in Liverpool, whether an individual has symptoms or not.

The trial saw huge uptake, with long queues forming at testing centres in the city.

But the pilot has not been without problems.

It emerged last week that one of the new tests that had been due to be used in Liverpool, the saliva-based OptiGene Direct RT-Lamp test, only managed to detect 47% of positive cases in an earlier trial in Salford.

Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: "I can confirm that we are rolling out the sort of mass testing we are seeing in Liverpool, and indeed we earlier piloted in Stoke-on-Trent, across 66 local authorities."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock Credit: Justin Tallis/PA

He added: "Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England saying we can make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give results in 15 minutes, and we can make them available to directors of public health right across the country.

"Sixty-six expressed an interest in the first instance, I’m now expecting a whole load more."

Mr Hancock also said that mass testing, like any future vaccine rollout, would be across the UK not just England.

He said: "The UK Government has bought the vaccine for the whole of the UK and it will be rolled out fairly across the whole of the UK with the same prioritisation no matter where you live in this country.

"The same goes for mass testing, making sure we roll that out across the whole UK."

People queuing outside a walk-in coronavirus test centre at Allerton Library in Liverpool. Credit: PA images

On Friday, queues built up outside the new test centres in Liverpool as they opened at midday.

People waited around 45 minutes outside the Liverpool Tennis Centre, one of the six facilities, before it opened.

Liverpool’s director of public health, Matt Ashton, on Saturday said the mass testing was showing positive signs after thousands of people were tested on the first day.

The programme aims to test up to 50,000 people a day once fully operational, he added.

The city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, on Monday said 23,170 people have been tested for coronavirus in the city since midday on Friday, with 0.7% testing positive.

The Department for Health has released the following list of areas to receive rapid turnaround tests:

  • Barking and Dagenham

  • Bexley

  • Birmingham

  • Blackburn and Darwen

  • Blackpool

  • Bolton

  • Brent

  • Bristol

  • Bury

  • Calderdale

  • Camden

  • City of London

  • County Durham

  • Coventry

  • Darlington

  • Doncaster

  • Dudley

  • East Riding of Yorkshire

  • Enfield

  • Essex

  • Gateshead

  • Greenwich

  • Hackney

  • Halton

  • Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Hartlepool

  • Hertfordshire

  • Kingston upon Hull

  • Islington

  • Kensington and Chelsea

  • Kingston upon Thames

  • Knowsley

  • Lambeth

  • Lewisham

  • Luton

  • Manchester

  • Middlesbrough

  • Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Newham

  • North Tyneside

  • Northumberland

  • Nottingham City

  • Nottinghamshire

  • Oldham

  • Redbridge

  • Redcar and Cleveland

  • Richmond upon Thames

  • Rochdale

  • Salford

  • Sefton

  • South Tyneside

  • Southwark

  • St Helen's

  • Staffordshire

  • Stockport

  • Stockton-on-Tees

  • Sunderland

  • Tameside

  • Tower Hamlets

  • Trafford

  • Wakefield

  • Waltham Forest

  • Wandsworth

  • Warrington

  • Wigan

  • Wirral

  • Wolverhampton

DHSC said Stoke on Trent, Liverpool and Lancashire have already been provided with lateral flow tests before this week.