Last week, Liverpool became the first part of the country to offer rapid testing for all its residents, including those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Now, the government has announced that more rapid COVID-19 tests are to be rolled out across England, with over 60 local authorities being offered the tests.
This includes several across Greater Manchester.
An initial 600,000 lateral flow tests – which have a turnaround time of under an hour – are being issued to local authorities this week, signalling the next phase of the government’s plan to expand asymptomatic testing for COVID-19, the Prime Minister announced this week.
Directors of public health will determine how to prioritise the allocation of these new tests, based on the specific needs of their communities, and will determine how people in the local area are tested.
Each will receive 10,000 tests to help them start testing priority groups, before they are given weekly allocations to be able to test 10% of their local population.
The areas that have signed up for the scheme so far include Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.
Stoke on Trent, Liverpool and Lancashire have already been provided with lateral flow tests before this week.
It is expected that more local authorities will soon sign up, including those across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate along with their household immediately and their contacts will be traced.
Eligible individuals who test positive – and contacts who are required to self-isolate – will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test ordered through NHS Test and Trace.
Those who test negative will need to continue to follow all national guidance.
“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,” said health secretary Matt Hancock.
“Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal.
“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.”