MASS testing for Coronavirus is to be rolled out to Wirral, the Government has confirmed today.

More than half a million rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to the public health directors of more than 50 local authorities.

Each will receive a batch of 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices to help them start testing priority groups.

They will determine how to prioritise the allocation of these new tests, based on the specific needs of their communities, and determine how people in the local area are tested. They will be supported by NHS Test and Trace to expand testing programmes in their area through access to training and clinical and operational guidance.

The initial batch will be followed up with a weekly allocation of lateral flow antigen tests.

Anyone testing 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.

A pilot scheme for the tests was launched in Liverpool last week, with more than half a million people offered coronavirus tests.

Wirral Council leader Janette Williamson said: "I'm really pleased that Wirral is set to see a marked increase in testing which will allow key groups to be checked for Covid-19 and help us restrict the transmission of the virus.

"The tests will be those used in the mass testing pilot carried out in Liverpool known as lateral flow antigen tests. These are a new kind of testing technology that do not require a laboratory to process the test, although swabbing and processing of these tests must be conducted by trained personnel, and preparations for this are being put in place across the borough.

"These new tests are specifically for people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). If you do have symptoms details of how get tested are available from

"At this stage it must be made clear this is not mass testing as we have seen in Liverpool but is a large scale targeted testing programme which will help us control the virus and limit its spread amongst the most vulnerable in the borough."

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said: "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.

"Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal.

"I am delighted to say 10,000 of these tests will now be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to over 50 directors of public health as part of our asymptomatic testing strategy.

"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."

This innovative new testing technology - which is already being rolled out as part of whole-city testing in Liverpool that began on Friday - can provide results within an hour without needing to be processed in a lab.

Interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding said: "I am delighted that as part of our expansion of testing we are able to partner with local authorities to deliver these new rapid turnaround tests to our local communities.

"There has been a huge amount of work to develop these new testing capabilities and I want to thank colleagues across NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England and the wider scientific community for ensuring that we are one of the first countries in the world who are able to deploy these new tests for the benefit of our public."