Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has welcomed the rollout of 600,000 more rapid COVID-19 tests.
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. This will be followed up with regular weekly deliveries of test to allow testing of up to around 10% of the population every week.
The initial batch of tests will be issued to over 50 local Directors of Public Health across England, as part of the phase of the Government’s plan to expand asymptomatic testing for COVID-19.
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 reduce hospitalisations which ultimately will save lives.
Commenting, Stephen Metcalfe said: “We have already reached a major milestone for testing – delivering on our target of 500,000 a day.
Mass testing will play a crucial role in tackling coronavirus, and I am pleased to see the Government deploying these new rapid-turnaround tests across Essex. These tests can help identify thousands of people who do not have symptoms but still can 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 the virus and get life ore 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.’’