Mass coronavirus testing will begin in Liverpool today as part of Boris Johnson’s ‘Operation Moonshot’ to try to save Christmas.
The prime minister hailed the program as “the way forward” as army troops crowd the city to help administer millions of levies.
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Boris Johnson has once again vowed that the nationwide lockdown restrictions will end on December 2 and hailed the mass testing from Liverpool as the way forward.
He said he believed a “tripod” of better treatments, mass testing and hope for a vaccine would help save Christmas.
Speaking in Downing Street last night, the Prime Minister said: ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel.
“We have city-wide testing starting tomorrow in Liverpool, by working together we can put this great city on top of the virus. ”
Mr Johnson said the new Liverpool-tested rapid-turn test was ‘full of promise’ and represented ‘the real way forward’.
The Defense Secretary told The Sun how the armed forces would unblock Britain from Covid through mass testing.
Ben Wallace has revealed that biomedical scientists from the Department of Defense will oversee troops from the 8th Engineer Brigade, the Royal Anglian Regiment and the King’s Royal Hussars in the first test run of an entire city.
And he hinted that the Liverpool deployment was the first in a long series, saying: “As the latest testing technology and developments in the fight against the virus come into play, Defense is ready to support local communities and the nation, to benefit as soon as possible. . ”
As of today, testing will be carried out at 47 locations across Liverpool, there will be a variety of ways to book a test including online, walk-in or by invitation from local authorities.
Testing will be performed in new and existing testing sites, using home kits, in hospitals and care facilities, as well as in schools, universities and workplaces.
Lt. Gen. Tyrone Richard Urch told BBC Radio 4: “Now it’s about testing, we have gone to schools and dropped off test kits.
“And now we’re off for larger scale mass testing and our troops have just started arriving for about a day.
The military chief said they had been asked to help by Liverpool to help plan the mass testing program and provide logistical support – as well as administering crucial samples.
But it comes as alarm bells have started ringing about the accuracy of new tests designed to deliver results in 20 minutes.
In a letter seen by the Guardian, scientists from the Greater Manchester Mass Testing Group raised concerns about LAMP testing.
The letter warned that tests only showed a sensitivity of 46.7%, which means more than 50% of coronavirus cases could be missed.
Scientists reported that the data did not support a massive rollout of testing among hospital or nursing home staff, which was the plan.
But the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) said it was “incorrect” to suggest the tests were not accurate, saying they had been validated by another pilot.
And the so-called pregnancy style tests will not be used in Liverpool.
Mr Johnson’s ‘Operation Moonshot’ aims to test 10 million people per day at a cost of £ 100 billion.
The prime minister said mass testing would lead to a return to normal life.
He said: “The advantage of this approach is that you can tell whether people are contagious or not immediately, within 10 to 15 minutes.
“Without having to worry about how long it takes to get the response from the current testing system, you can help these people self-isolate if they test positive, and if they are negative, then of course they are free to. do things. with other people who test negative in a near-normal way. ”
DHSC Technical Validation Group Co-Chair Mark Wilcox Professor Mark Wilcox said the sensitivity can vary between 80% and 96%.
Professor Wilcox said: “The direct LAMP tests used in Manchester have been validated in other laboratories and in real tests for use in different settings.
“It is inaccurate to claim that the tests have low sensitivity, with a recent pilot showing an overall technical sensitivity of almost 80% rising to over 96% in individuals with a higher viral load, making it an important point for the detection of individuals at the infectious stage.
“The challenge now is to understand the reasons for the difference in sensitivity declared in one assessment compared to those of several others. “
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