Coronavirus: York plans mass testing across the city

Coronavirus testing at Heathrow Airport. Photograph: LHR Airports Limited

York leaders are to ask government for mass coronavirus testing of residents across the city.

The request could see new test centres set up in different parts of the city, with people who do not have symptoms offered a coronavirus test.

Members of the York outbreak board will write to the Department for Health and Social Care with its plans to set up the system.

Sharon Stoltz, the city’s director of public health, says once the request is submitted the system could be set up quickly.

She told the meeting: “We should hear back within a week or so. The turnaround is quite quick.

“I’m really excited by the opportunity to do more localised testing – we have been lobbying for this for some time.”

It could involve setting up smaller test sites across the city. Liverpool launched the UK’s first mass Covid testing trial.

University plans

Council leader Keith Aspden said an ‘expression of interest’ will be submitted for mass testing.

He said: “It is good news that we are progressing with plan to provide additional testing in the city.

“Following months of proactive lobbying efforts, the outbreak management advisory board has today endorsed a plan, which will see us support more people across the city.

“We continue to call for crucial improvements to the test, trace and isolate systems as well as further financial support for individuals, businesses and local public health teams.”

Separately, the University of York is planning to roll out mass testing for students before they return home for Christmas.

If the bid goes ahead, students without symptoms could be tested twice before they leave for the holidays.

The voluntary testing is expected to start on November 30, with students encouraged to travel home between December 3 and 9.

Test sites for people with coronavirus symptoms remain in place and anyone with symptoms should book a test by visiting gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.