Army officer demonstrates lateral Covid tests that provide ‘results in an hour’

9 November 2020, 21:37 | Updated: 9 November 2020, 22:03

By Maddie Goodfellow

Brigadier Joe Fossey has explained how lateral flow Covid tests that 'return results within an hour' will be used in the Liverpool mass testing scheme.

Brigadier Fossey also explained how soldiers will help organise Liverpool's mass coronavirus testing programme, which began on Friday.

The scheme, the first pilot in the UK, gives anyone living or working in the city the option of regular testing even if they have no symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the scheme as "having the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against Covid-19".

2,000 Armed Forces personnel have already been deployed to Liverpool to aide the mass testing.

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Brigadier Fossey spoke at the coronavirus press conference
Brigadier Fossey spoke at the coronavirus press conference. Picture: PA

And at Downing Street today, Brigadier Fossey explained how the tests work as he urged the people of Liverpool to take a test.

He said: “Its a privilege to help the great city of Liverpool in its hour of need - we relish to opportunity to help.“Over 2,000 troops have answered the call to help Liverpool.

"To date, we have established 19 sites and we are working hard with the authorities."

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Brigadier Fossey spoke about how the new lateral flow tests and are simple to use and similar to the swab test.

He said: "This is a lateral flow test and these are the tests we are using in Liverpool and they are very simple to use."You will all know what a swab looks like, you will be in an enclosed booth, you put the swab in your mouth then your nose and give it back to the soldier who will complete the test.

"The new piece of equipment is this, a two-inch bit of plastic which is this lateral flow device that produces a speedy result.

"I've taken one this morning to make sure it was Covid-free; the test returns the results within the hour without the need of a lab."

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Brigadier Fossey added: "We are extremely grateful for such a warm response, more so because so many soldiers come from the city region and are excited to give something back to their communities.

"So our message to the city of Liverpool is clear, we are set up and ready for you to come and get tested, please do not hesitate, make the most of this opportunity - what we are trialling now is a possible route out of lockdown and a way to get on with our lives".

The aim of the programme is to find asymptomatic cases in order to help prevent and reduce transmission in the community.

Testing is being carried out across the city including in hospitals, care home settings, schools, universities, workplaces and using at-home kits.

Boris Johnson also urged people in Liverpool to take part in a pilot scheme of mass coronavirus testing in the city.

The Prime Minister told its 500,000 residents to "do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community" in a bid to "drive the disease down".

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on Monday: "Our first pilot began in Liverpool on Friday in partnership with Liverpool City Council.

"We've tested thousands of people there, but there's still a lot more to do.

"So please, if you are in Liverpool, get yourself along to a testing centre - there are 19 at the moment with more still to come and the more people get tested, the better we can protect that great city and drive the disease down in Liverpool.

"So, do it for your friends, for your relatives, for your community."

The call came as the city's mayor Joe Anderson said 23,170 people have been tested for coronavirus in the city since midday on Friday, with 0.7% testing positive.

He tweeted: "Thank you to those who have so far participated & for those who have booked & are still to get the test.

"Infection rates are now at 300 per 100,000 which is promising."

Discussions for Nottinghamshire to become the next region for mass coronavirus testing took place on Monday afternoon, it has been reported.

The announcement, expected to cover the city of Nottingham and the wider county, would follow the pilot scheme in Liverpool.