Thursday, September 21News For London

Mass testing is expected in London

Nineteen London boroughs plus the City of London are set to receive mass Covid-19 testing rollouts this week.

A laboratory expert takes a Covid-19 swab test. Photograph by Mufid Majnun

The daily number of 2,917 people tested positive for mass Covid-19 on 13th November in London. The total number of mass Covid-19 cases reported up to 13th November in London was 125,782.

Daily cases from 6th to 10th November in London

Data Source: PHE Covid-19 Dashboard Graphic by Peiyun He

Department of Health and Social Care published a list on 10th November, which listed 66 local authorities where directors of public health in these areas would each receive 10,000 lateral flow devices. The list included 19 London boroughs, including Bexley, Bromley, Brent and Enfield.

The tests will start from priority groups, such as the elderly and frontline workers.

Ben Lee, an owner of a Chinese restaurant called “Lido” in Chinatown has been living in London for more than 10 years.

Running his business requires contacting a large flow of people. He held a positive attitude towards mass testing. He told Westminster World: “It is responsible for being safe for me and my guests.”

Empty Chinatown during the second lockdown Photograph by the interviewee, Ben Lee

Rosie Chantry, a 19-year-old undergraduate student who lives in Bromley, talked to Westminster World: “I would like to take this test for the safety of other people around me, especially those who are more vulnerable.”

She added: “The most noticeable problem would be the protective measures during the test.”

Lynne Cassidy (71) took her test at 1 pm on 12th November in a testing site in Liverpool, which was the first area in the UK to do citywide testing.

Lynne said: “I am high risk.” When she arrived at the testing site, six people were waiting for testing. She got an envelope with a testing device and swabbed both her nose and throat for ten seconds in a cubicle. After she finished, an administrator came along with a spray machine and sprayed the cubicle and chair.

The next morning, she tested negative. She told us: “It was well-organized. I felt quite safe.”

A total of 336 cases tested positive out of 90,000 people in Liverpool’s first mass trial week, Joe Anderson, Liverpool Mayor, said.

According to data released from Liverpool City Council, the latest positive testing rate up to 10th November is 4.8%.

Mass testing is a part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot” that aims to deliver 10 million tests per day by 2021 and to maintain control over the virus. The scheme is to find asymptomatic cases to help prevent and reduce transmission in the community.

However, mass testing for Covid-19 is a vast undertaking.

An article published in the British Medical Journal stated: “To be effective, testing needs to be accessible even to the most disadvantaged people in society, and those tested need to receive support, information, and advice from experienced practitioners. Otherwise, the system will be chaotic, wasteful, ineffective, and harmful.”

Danny Trophy, councillor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, also questioned the implementation: “It will take time to set up this service and we will only be able to do so when we hear from the Department of Health and Social Care what resources they will be providing to support this.”

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