LONDON -- A half-million people in the English city of Liverpool will be regularly tested for COVID-19 in Britain's first citywide trial of widespread, rapid testing that the government hopes will be a new weapon in combating the pandemic.
Testing will begin later this week at sites throughout the city using a variety of technologies, including new methods that can provide results in an hour or less, the government said in a statement Tuesday. Everyone who lives or works in the city in northwestern England will be offered the test, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
“These tests will help identify the many thousands of people in the city who don’t have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing,″ Johnson said. “Dependent on their success in Liverpool, we will aim to distribute millions of these new rapid tests between now and Christmas and empower local communities to use them to drive down transmission in their areas."
Liverpool has one of the highest infection rates in England, with more than 410 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 225 per 100,000 for the nation as a whole.
About 2,000 military personnel will help the National Health Service and independent contractors deliver the tests.
“This first deployment of whole city testing in Liverpool is a really important step forward and is thanks to the big increase in testing capacity and our investment in new testing technologies,'' said Dido Harding, the head of the Test and Trace program.
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