PM urges people in Liverpool to take part in mass coronavirus testing pilot

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor
·2-min read

Boris Johnson has 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”.

Lateral flow tests, with a turnaround time of under an hour, have been available since Friday for people who live and work in the city and do not have symptoms.

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.

British Army Brigadier Joe Fossey, who is coordinating the mass coronavirus testing pilot in Liverpool, holds up the components of a lateral flow Covid-19 test (Tolga Akmen/PA)
British Army Brigadier Joe Fossey, who is coordinating the mass coronavirus testing pilot in Liverpool, holds up the components of a lateral flow Covid-19 test (Tolga Akmen/PA)

“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.”

His comments were echoed by Brigadier Joe Fossey, who is coordinating mass testing in Liverpool.

He told the press conference: “Our message to the people 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 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, the PA news agency understands.

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