Robert Halfon MP welcomes rollout of mass rapid Covid-19 tests in Essex

Health / Tue 10th Nov 2020 at 06:24pm

HARLOW’S MP, Robert Halfon, has welcomed the news that Harlow residents will benefit from the Government’s latest expansion of Covid-19 testing.

The Prime Minister has announced that 600,000 rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders this week – including in Essex.

In total, tests will be issued to over 50 local health directors across England, as part of the next phase of the government’s plan to expand asymptomatic testing for Covid-19. Each area will receive an initial batch of 10,000 rapid tests as part of a new pilot to enable them to start testing priority groups.

As part of this offer, the Health Secretary has written to all upper tier local authority leaders, confirming that all local health directors will be offered a weekly allocation of rapid-turnaround tests, equivalent to 10 percent of their population, building on existing partnerships between NHS Test and Trace and local leaders.

This innovative new testing technology – which is already being rolled out in Liverpool – can provide results within an hour without needing to be processed in a lab.

Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals will help identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enable those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate, which can help drive down the R rate locally and save lives

Commenting, Robert Halfon said:

“Testing is so important in our fight against coronavirus and I am pleased that the Government recently reached a major milestone for testing – delivering on the target capacity of 500,000 a day.

“I strongly welcome the fact that the Government is deploying these new rapid-turnaround tests which can help identify thousands of people who don’t have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing and I am glad that our community will benefit from this.” 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“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.

“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.”

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