‘Super Saturday’ and ‘Super Sunday’ Covid testing blitz

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Temporary ‘pop-up’ sites for people without Covid symptoms to get tested will be installed in Liverpool this weekend as part of a continued drive to get life going again in the city.

They are being placed in areas where take up of the city’s pilot regular testing programme for people without symptoms known as community testing or Systematic Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeated Testing (SMART).

Combined with people following the rules and self-isolating when required to do so, as well as good contact tracing measures and Covid-safe measures in businesses, it has led to Liverpool and the wider city region being placed in Tier 2 of Covid measures from 2 December – the first area in the country to move down from Tier 3.

The temporary locations – which local councillors have helped identify – include social clubs, community centres and faith centres will be open from 10am – 7pm on Saturday 28 November and Sunday 29 November.

Ministry of Defence personnel who were previously staffing testing centres in secondary schools are being deployed to set up and manage the temporary facilities and council staff will also be going door-to-door encouraging people to get tested.

The locations of the pop-up testing sites for Saturday and Sunday only from 10am to 7pm are:

· Pagoda Centre, Henry Street, City Centre

· Church of Latter Day Saints, Millbank, Tuebrook

· Everton Park Lifestyles Fitness Centre, Great Homer Street, Everton

· Longmoor Social Club, Longmoor Lane, Fazakerley

· Rotunda, Great Mersey Street, Kirkdale

· Salvation Army Prescot Road , Old Swan

· All Saints Church, Broad Green Road, Old Swan

· Earle Road Hub, Earle Road, Picton

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We are hugely grateful to the many people who have taken time out of their day to get tested as part of this programme, but we know that in some areas it has not been as high as we would like it to have been.

“This is about taking the programme out into the community to venues that are familiar to local people, and working with councillors to use their knowledge and connections to encourage as many people as possible to get tested.

“The more people who get tested, the more chance we have of continuing the decline in positive cases we have seen in recent weeks, which has led to us being placed in Tier 2.

“We want to get people into the testing habit so we can keep levels low in our city up to and beyond Christmas, through the cold winter months and in to spring – because the last thing any of us want is a return to a national lockdown, or local restrictions, in January or February.”

Director of Public Health, Matthew Ashton, said: “This next phase of the pilot testing programme is about improving the effectiveness of the delivery model, and make it more sustainable, based on what we have learned since it began.

“That means keeping the centres that we know are well-used, and finding new ways of offering testing to those communities that we know we still need to reach.

“It is also important we get the message across that a negative test result does not let you get on with your life with no other control measures – it is reduced risk, not no risk. So we still need to follow the rules around regular hand washing, social distancing and avoiding household mixing.

“The way Liverpool has responded so far tells me we can absolutely embrace the challenge. Protecting ourselves, our friends, families, loved ones, and the wider city now and in the year to come.”

A new, sustainable operating model for testing people without symptoms is currently being worked through and will be announced in due course.

More details of the testing programme in Liverpool can be found at www.liverpool.gov.uk/coronavirus