Coronavirus

COVID: Armed Forces Help Test Almost 20% Of Liverpool Population

There are currently 38 test centres in the city, including facilities at leisure centres, church halls and at Anfield Stadium.

The Armed Forces have helped test 18% of Liverpool's population during a mass coronavirus testing pilot in the city, according to figures from the city's mayor.

Joe Anderson said 90,000 people had been tested for the virus in the first week of the scheme which started last Friday.

The pilot, supported by about 2,000 personnel from across the UK Armed Forces, sees tests being offered to everyone in the city regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

Mr Anderson told BBC Breakfast that 430 people had tested positive, with only about 200 of them showing any symptoms beforehand. 

He said: "Four hundred and thirty people are not spreading the virus – it means that we can break the chain of infection.

"Since we’ve been into Tier 3, we had 680 people per 100,000 that were positive in the city.

"We’ve now got that down in terms of the R rate, the infection rate, to around 300 per 100,000, so that’s a positive move and a positive step for us.

"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."

The latest figures, for the number of new cases in the week up to 8 November, show that Liverpool had an infection rate of 283.1 per 100,000 people.

On Twitter, Mr Anderson said 50,000 people had taken lateral flow tests, which are being offered to people who don't have symptoms and give results within an hour, and 40,000 people had gone to mobile testing units across the city.

Mr Anderson said the infection rate in Liverpool has decreased.

There are currently 38 test centres in Liverpool, including facilities at leisure centres, church halls and at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium.

Residents are being encouraged to have a repeat test once a week.

Troops have been helping with the logistics and delivery of the programme in the city. In total, 16 units from more than 20 locations have come together to support the mass testing.

Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, Commander of Standing Joint Command, told Forces News last week it was "extraordinary" what the Armed Forces has been able to deliver in the city. 

According to Government figures, on Thursday the UK recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic – 33,470.

The Health Secretary announced earlier this week that mass testing sites will be rolled out to 67 more areas in England as the Government looks to boost its testing capacity.

Meanwhile, Matt Hancock has asked the military and NHS to be ready to roll out a coronavirus vaccine from the start of December.

He said the NHS was leading work to get a vaccine to those most in need as soon as possible, though most people will not get a jab until 2021.

This comes after news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective. The Government has already ordered 40 million doses, enough for about a third of the UK population.

Cover image: Troops at a testing centre in Liverpool.