Economic DevelopmentNorth West Liverpool mass Covid testing a ‘vital step’ for businesses fighting back against pandemic impact, says CBI
The director of CBI North West has welcomed the news Liverpool is to be at the centre of the Government’s ‘moonshot’ mass Covid-19 testing programme, saying it is a “vital step” towards allowing businesses to fight the impact of the pandemic.
Damian Waters was reacting to the announcement on Monday night that everyone who lives and works in the city will be offered either an existing swab test or new rapid testing technologies.
According to Mr Waters, the move by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which will see 2,000 military personnel in Liverpool to roll out the scheme, will help the city “get on top of the virus”.
Mr Waters said: “The announcement of a mass testing pilot in Liverpool is a vital step towards enabling businesses to fight back against the impact of Covid-19.
“Widespread testing, and the reassurance it provides, can enable people to move around and businesses to operate safely and confidently, transforming the way we live and work.
“Findings from the pilot should ensure any future restrictions can be much more focused and enable self-isolation to be better targeted, so we can genuinely get on top of the virus.
“We urge the Government to move quickly with this pilot and show ambition in pursuit of a reliable, rapid mass-testing regime which can be the key to safely reopening our economy.”
Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, also responded to the news.
He said: “Mass testing provides Liverpool with a potential exit strategy from the imposition of the coronavirus restrictions and that is a positive for businesses.
“How we learn to live with the virus is crucial to our futures and that of our members, and mass testing will enable business to return to some form of normality sooner rather than later.”
If the test is successful, it is thought that Mr Johnson will do the same in other cities.
He said: “These tests will help identify the many thousands of people in the city who don’t have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing.
“Dependent on their success in Liverpool, we will aim to distribute millions of these new rapid tests between now and Christmas and empower local communities to use them to drive down transmission in their areas.
“It is early days, but this kind of mass testing has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against Covid-19.”
Testing will be carried out in new and existing test sites, using home kits, in hospitals and care home settings, and schools, universities and workplaces.
Those 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.