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Mass testing trial using pregnancy-style kits aims to HALVE quarantine time for Covid contacts

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A MASS testing trial using pregnancy-style kits could halve the quarantine time for Covid contacts.

Anyone told to isolate after coming in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus could only need to stay at home for seven days.

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Mass testing is being trialled in Liverpool to try and formulate a system for the whole country

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Mass testing is being trialled in Liverpool to try and formulate a system for the whole countryCredit: PA:Press Association

The trial is being rolled out in Liverpool in the next stage of mass testing next week.

Emergency-service workers will get daily pregnancy-style tests, which will allow them to carry on working if they come back negative.

If this is successful the plan is to roll this out to the wider public for the city-wide trials for speedier testing.

Anyone in Liverpool told to isolate after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive person could then be offered a test after a week – cutting quarantine by half.

Currently anyone told to isolate needs to quarantine for 14 days.

Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, said the processes being trialled in Liverpool will allow people to see loved ones.

The member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told BBC Breakfast: “For the the first time testing will no longer just be seen as a punitive action where you’re forced into isolation.

“We are going to be using testing to enable visiting to care homes and starting on Tuesday we will be piloting this in 12 care homes so that we can make visiting loved elderly relatives much safer.”

The rapid turnaround tests will play a “major role” in returning life to normal, Oxford Uni scientists have said.

CUTTING QUARANTINE TIME

The kits, known as lateral flow tests, have been trialled across England to find out their effectiveness, including a city-wide pilot in Liverpool which was launched last week.

The tests involve a swab of the nose and throat, just like a PCR test. It’s then inserted into a tube of liquid for a short period of time.

Drops of that liquid are then added to a strip – similar to a pregnancy test – and about half an hour later a result is shown.

Boris Johnson is self isolating after meeting with a Tory MP who later tested positive for coronavirus.

The Prime Minister said he does not have any symptoms of the virus and will continue to work from Downing Street.

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers said it is important to consider the amount of pressure the NHS is under before lockdown restrictions are eased.

Saffron Cordery told BBC Breakfast the health service had already seen increases in 12-hour waits in A&E and admissions, slow handover times from ambulances and long waits to transfer people out of hospital.

She said the lockdown was “absolutely critical” at the moment because it is currently the only way to control the spread of the virus.

“We are looking to bring down the R rate significantly enough for it to translate into fewer hospital admissions,” she said.

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers has said she expects lockdown restrictions to be in place into the new year to get us through the “hump” of winter.

Saffron Cordery told BBC Breakfast the NHS workforce was now “incredibly tired” as they treat coronavirus patients as well as trying to keep regular services open.

Animation shows how new 15-minute Covid tests work
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