A 15-Minute Coronavirus Test Will Be Rolled Out To Care Homes And Schools, Boris Johnson Says
Boris Johnson has pledged to introduce 15-minute swab tests in Tier 3 regions, and has issued a final warning to Greater Manchester to accept tougher restrictions.
The prime minister said the government has already bought millions of saliva-based tests and they could be used in care homes, schools and universities in high risk areas.
He told the Downing Street press conference this afternoon: "Over the next few weeks, we will start distributing and trialling these tests across the country. This will enable us to do quick turnaround tests on NHS and care home staff much more frequently."
"And we will make tests available to local directors of public health, to help control localised outbreaks, handing more control from London to all parts of our country, so that those on the ground, can use the tools we give them as they think best, and I've instructed my team to ensure that Liverpool City region, Lancashire, and any other areas which enter into the Very High alert level are immediately prioritised for those tests."
The tests offer was unveiled as Greater Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham – who has received support from local MPs in both main parties – continued to resist the government's wishes to put the area into the highest alert level, Tier 3.
Burnham has said he is not convinced by what he described as a "experimental" lockdown being imposed on the North by central government and that they must increase their wage subsidy offer from 66 percent to 80 percent, to mirror the original furlough scheme.
"The situation in Greater Manchester is grave and worsens with each passing day," Johnson said.
He said cases had doubled in the last nine days and infection rates were "creeping up" different age ranges.
"The number of Covid in-patients in Manchester's ICU beds is already over 40 percent of the number at the height of the first wave. That number will inevitably rise further given hospitalisation occurs two to three weeks after infection," he said.
"On present trends in just over two weeks there will be more Covid patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave.
"I urge the Mayor to reconsider and engage constructively."
He said ultimately national government must reserve the right to step in and would place Greater Manchester into Tier 3 if it had to.