Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley are among the boroughs who will be receiving lateral flow tests for coronavirus, which can deliver results within 15 minutes, the government has confirmed today.
Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the three authorities were among the 66 areas across England that will each receive 10,000 kits. Bromley, Southwark, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Newham will also get the tests. (See full list.)
The new tests – which are already being rolled out in Liverpool – provide results within an hour without needing to be processed in a lab, and with minimal training needed to use them.
Local public health teams will also benefit from a more accurate picture of the number of cases in their area, the government said.
Hancock said the move would help “get life more normal”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The test kits will be given to public health directors this week, with top-up deliveries to come weekly.
Anyone with symptoms should continue to book a test via gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
Story updated at 5.40pm to include Bromley in the list of boroughs getting tests.
Lachlan Leeming is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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