Coronavirus: 'Blitz spirit' as hundreds queue in Liverpool for quick COVID tests

·2-min read

There is a kind of "Blitz spirit" outside the Liverpool Tennis Centre.

Everyone is wrapped up warm on this chilly, yet sunny day - and almost everyone is wearing a mask. There's chatter, and laughter and a feeling of camaraderie.

"We've come here for our city", 69-year-old Peter Taylor tells me.

He's sporting a Liverpool FC bobble hat, and is particularly pleased his team is supporting efforts here.

"Jurgen Klopp has asked everyone to come out so why not? We don't like the lockdown and we can't expect the government to get it right without public support," he says.

Peter is part of a queue that at times contains hundreds of people who've been told they can turn up for a COVID test that'll give them a result within 30 minutes.

Inside the tennis centre, soldiers from the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment have set up camp on the courts.

They've been practicing the Lateral Flow Test on themselves - to make sure they get it right for the public.

I spot Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson there, he's just had the test himself.

It's a quick swab to the throat and nose, then it gets popped into some liquid, and onto something which looks very much like a pregnancy test.

Mr Anderson lost his brother to COVID, and he likens the fight against the virus to a war.

"It does exist, it is here", he tells me. "And we're using the army to fight a different battle. I want people to ignore the conspiracy theorists".

As I tweet about what's going on here, my timeline fills up with comments like "the more testing, the more false positives, the more cases, the longer we are in lockdown", and others that wouldn't be decent to print.

But that's not how they see it in the queue here - where more and more people are arriving every minute - and they seem happy to wait however long it takes. I spot a chap who has come prepared with a fishing stool.

Amnah Vicars, 51, has brought her 12-year-old son, Isaac. "I've just come to do my bit for Liverpool to get us out of lockdown as quickly as possible", she says.

Further down the queue I find Christine Poole, 70, who says: "I wanted to get a test to keep our families safe.

"If we are safe, they are safe, it's peace of mind knowing that you aren't putting people in danger. The most important thing is not to be a carrier".