Regular COVID tests for the whole of Liverpool – which UK region could be next?
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COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in almost 50 million people across the world, while more than one million have died from the virus. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.
The UK has seen a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that a new nationwide lockdown will come into force from Thursday this week, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
More than 300 people died from COVID-19 on Saturday (October 31) alone.
The government has now launched a city-wide testing pilot for Liverpool, in a bid to slow down the rise in infections.
Everyone that either lives or works in Liverpool will be offered regular coronavirus tests in the new programme – whether they have symptoms or not.
It’s the first city-wide testing scheme to be launched in the UK.
The Liverpool population will be tested using a combination of the common swab test, as well as new rapid-result tests.
All tests will be carried out in either existing testing sites, new pop-up COVID test sites, at home, in hospitals, care homes, universities, schools or workplaces.
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“I want to thank the civic leaders of Liverpool for volunteering to join the UK’s first city-wide population testing pilot and the people of Liverpool for taking part,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“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.
“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.
“It is early days, but this kind of mass testing has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against COVID-19.”
Where could be next?
The Liverpool City region was the very first place in the UK to enter into ‘tier 3’ coronavirus rules, which is why it may have been selected for the testing pilot.
If the programme is a success, it could be rolled out to other high-risk parts of the country.
Greater Manchester was the most high-profile city to move into tier 3, and may be next on the list for city-wide testing.
Other tier 3 cities include Sheffield, Nottingham, Preston, Blackburn, Warrington – all of which could also be used for mass testing.
Meanwhile, A high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms.
You should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.
Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.
More than 45,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.
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