Army descends on Pontins as Liverpool prepares for mass coronavirus testing

The army has been deployed to Liverpool for the roll-out of groundbreaking mass coronavirus testing across the city.

From Friday, November 6, everyone living or working in Liverpool will be offered tests, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

The pilot scheme will determine whether mass screening can be introduced across other regions of England – one of the objectives of Operation Moonshot.

The government wants to expand testing from hundreds of thousands per day to 10 million by early 2021.

It is believed 2,000 military personnel will be stationed in the city, according to the Liverpool Echo.

They will be staying in Pontins Southport, and have already been recorded arriving at the holiday park.

Along with the troops, 85 Covid-19 testing stations will be set up across Liverpool.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We will be deploying 2000 talented Armed Forces personnel to, once again, rise to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to ensure we go above and beyond for the Liverpool community – we will have your backs throughout the trial.

“The military are uniquely placed to help with the fight against Covid-19 and remain ready to support with the mass testing initiative in Liverpool along with the additional needs of the country at this time.

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Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Mass testing has the potential to enable us to find the vast majority of people who have coronavirus, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, and therefore dramatically enhance our ability to stop the spread of the virus.

“This first deployment of whole city testing in Liverpool is a really important step forward and is thanks to the big increase in testing capacity and our investment in new testing technologies.

“NHS Test and Trace will continue to work closely with local leaders, directors of public health and the Armed Forces to ensure Liverpool residents and workers can benefit from these advances.

“By everyone in Liverpool coming forward to get tested, and isolating if they need to, we have a real opportunity to make a massive difference.”

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