Rapid 30-minute Coronavirus tests will be available in Scotland

Scotland will get enough rapid Covid tests to check 10 per cent of the population every week.

Matt Hancock today announced the lateral flow tests, which can give results in 15 to 30 minutes, will soon be made available everywhere else in Britain.

The Health Secretary praised the tests, which were trialled in Liverpool, and announced the next step of fighting the pandemic was to roll out “mass testing capability more widely”.

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Speaking in the Commons, he said: “So I can tell the House that last night I wrote to 67 directors of public health who have expressed an interest in making 10,000 tests available immediately and making available lateral flow tests for use by local officials, according to local needs, at a rate of 10 per cent of their population per week.

British Army soldiers, 1st battalion Coldstream Guards, staff a coronavirus testing centre set up at the Merseyside Caribbean Council Community Centre in Liverpool, north west England, on November 10, 2020 during a city-wide mass testing pilot operation. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
British Army soldiers, 1st battalion Coldstream Guards, staff a coronavirus testing centre set up at the Merseyside Caribbean Council Community Centre in Liverpool, north west England, on November 10, 2020 during a city-wide mass testing pilot operation. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

“That same capacity – 10 per cent of the population per week – will be made available to the devolved administrations too.

“By combining the local knowledge of public health leaders with our extensive national infrastructure, we can tackle this virus in our communities and help our efforts to bring the R down.

“Testing provides confidence and it is this confidence that will help get Britain back on our feet once more.”

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Mr Hancock said he hoped the new tests would find the virus "wherever it is, especially in those high-prevalence areas".

Mass testing means asking everyone to be tested, whether or not they have symptoms.

The Liverpool pilot saw everyone living or working in the city offered a voluntary test, with more than 23,000 residents and workers tested since Friday.

The head of England's Test and Trace programme, Baroness Dido Harding, told MPs earlier today the service was not a "silver bullet" to tackle coronavirus.

The Conservative peer explained that a little over half of people who were asked to self-isolate for 14 days had done so.

She said: "Much as I would love that testing and tracing on its own would be a silver bullet to holding back the tide of Covid, unfortunately the evidence in the UK and in every other country in Europe is that's not the case.”

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