Liverpool tests 90,000 in mass trials first week

Liverpool tests 90,000 in mass trials first week

About 90,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the first week of the country’s first city-wide tests in Liverpool, its mayor has said.

Queues built up after testing sites opened last Friday, when all residents were offered tests whether they had symptoms or not.

Since then, 430 people have tested positive, with about 200 showing prior symptoms, Mayor Joe Anderson said.

He added that hospital admissions were “starting to come down”.

Liverpool had among the highest rates of deaths from coronavirus in October, when it became the first area in England to face the tightest restrictions before the second national lockdown.

Mr Anderson told BBC Breakfast that the results “means that we can break the chain of infection”.

He added that a decline in the city’s infection rate was “a positive step”.

“The overall aim, of course, is to reduce the admissions into our hospitals, which is also now starting to come down, so we’re pleased with the way things are going and we think it will have an impact.”

About 2,000 members of the military forces have been drafted in to help at 38 test centres, including at leisure centres, church halls and Anfield Stadium.

Testing has also taken place in some schools and thousands of home kits have been sent out.

Officials initially said the mass testing pilot would run for two weeks in the city but it will now continue for a month at least, Mr Anderson said.

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: “The pilot will end when enough is known about how to maximise the public benefit from this project.”

It was announced this week that mass testing would be rolled out to 67 more areas in England, including Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, the North East and parts of the West Midlands, North West and London.

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