Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley to get mass Covid-19 tests

UPDATE:

Bromley Council on Tuesday afternoon confirmed it has been added to the mass testing roll-out, following health secretary Matt Hancock’s earlier announcement. An earlier story highlighted that Greenwich and Bexley had been included among the 66 local authorities originally named by the government for the testing. 

STORY: 

South-east authorities Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich will be among the London boroughs set to receive mass coronavirus testing roll-outs within the next week.

Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the authorities were among the 66 areas that would each receive 10,000 lateral flow tests – which can deliver coronavirus test results within 15 minutes – later this week.

The authorities are scattered around England and includes a large swathe of London boroughs.

Fellow south London authorities Lambeth and Lewisham are also set to be included in the roll-out.

Bexley and Greenwich were named in the government’s original list, with Bromley saying it was added later on Tuesday afternoon. 

The new tests – which are already being rolled out as part of whole-city testing in Liverpool that began on Friday – can provide results within an hour without needing to be processed in a lab.

They also need minimal training to be used, with the government stating it is exploring how they could eventually be self-administered.

According to the government, local leaders will also benefit from a more accurate picture of the number of cases in their area.

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said the move would help “get life more normal”.

“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,” he said.

“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 love doing.”

The test kits will be given to public health directors at councils across England this week, with subsequent top-up deliveries to be given to authorities weekly.

Greenwich, Bromley and Bexley councils have been contacted for comment on the development.

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