Mass quick-turnaround Covid-19 testing to be rolled out in North Somerset

The tests will help detect asymptomatic cases in the hope of slowing down the spread of the virus Credit: PA Images

North Somerset Council has become the latest authority in the region to be offered fast-turnaround tests to combat the spread of coronavirus.

It joins Bristol and South Gloucestershire who have already begun testing in an effort to stem rising infection rates.

The lateral flow tests use a swab and give results in less than one hour. The test checks if the person is infectious, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The hope is the rollout will slow the spread of the virus in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas.

Public Health England scientists at Porton Down have confirmed lateral flow tests “successfully detected samples” with the new variant of Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly in London and South East England.

There were already 106 places in the country offering rapid testing, but now 17 new areas have been added - including North Somerset.

The Government hopes the tests can help keep cases down in lower Tier areas. Credit: ITV News West Country

The tests have been given to public health directors, with the Government saying they will choose how to use them "based on their local knowledge".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged members of the public to take a test if they are offered one by public health teams.

He said: “Roughly one in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms and so it’s essential we broaden testing to help identify those who are infected and infectious, unaware they may be spreading the disease.

"If you are offered community testing in your local area, I would strongly encourage you to take up this opportunity to get tested and protect your local community.”

The Government said targeted community testing of people with no symptoms will help identify positive cases more quickly and break chains of transmission, and is available for all local authorities in Tier 4, Tier 3, and in Tier 2 at risk of going into Tier 3, with authorities invited to submit applications.

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