• Durham County Council will benefit from increased testing of priority and high-risk groups – under the next stage of partnership between NHS Test and Trace and local Directors of Public Health
  • Half a million rapid-turnaround tests to be sent out this week in a significant expansion of testing.
  • An increase in asymptomatic testing will help pick up more cases, stop the spread of the virus and support communities and critical industries

Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has welcomed the news that Durham County Council 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 North West Durham.

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, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:

“We have already reached a major milestone for testing – delivering on our target capacity of 500,000 a day.

“Mass testing will play a crucial role in tackling coronavirus, and it is excellent to see the Government 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.”

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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