- Theo Clarke MP raised with the Prime Minister at PMQs on Wednesday 9th December 2020 the importance of sufficient community testing in order to help get her Stafford constituency out of Tier 3.
- Stafford Borough Council and South Staffordshire Council are two of 67 councils in Tier 3 areas set to benefit from enhanced community testing as part of our Covid Winter Plan.
- More than 1.6 million rapid-turnaround tests across England will be deployed for immediate use this month.
- Community testing offers a route out for those living under the toughest restrictions, helping reduce cases in areas where need is greatest.
Theo Clarke MP has welcomed the news that both South Staffordshire Council and Stafford Borough Council are to benefit from the Government’s latest expansion of asymptomatic testing, as part its Covid Winter Plan.
More than 1.6 million rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be deployed immediately for use this month in the first wave of areas currently in Tier 3 across England – including in the Stafford constituency.
Over 100 local authorities are currently engaged with the programme, which run for a minimum of 6 weeks, with more Tier 3 rollouts due to begin over the coming weeks and into the new year.
Community testing builds on the 1.5 million rapid-turnaround testing kits that have been delivered to 90 local authorities across all levels of tier restrictions, expanding the capacity for asymptomatic testing.
Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals will help identify those who unknowingly have the virus, breaking the chains of transmission in communities where infections are highest and offer a route out for those areas living under the toughest restrictions as we work to keep the virus under control.
Commenting, Theo Clarke MP said:
“Following my conversations with Ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care and my Prime Minister’s Question last week, raising the importance of community testing, I am delighted that both Stafford Borough Council and South Staffordshire Council have been selected for enhanced community testing. This is a vital step to help get my Stafford constituency out of Tier 3 as soon as possible.
“While we continue to make fantastic progress on the rollout of a vaccine, we cannot afford to become complacent about the threat of coronavirus, which continues to remain a real danger within our communities.
“Community testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to break the chain of transmission and drive down the infection rate in areas like mine where the virus remains prevalent, and I would encourage everyone in my Stafford constituency to get tested so together we can keep the virus under control.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I am really pleased to announce the first areas embarking on enhanced community testing programmes - after the successful work in Liverpool. With one in three people with coronavirus showing no symptoms, increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.
“Community testing will be very important in helping the areas where levels of the virus are highest to drive down infection rates and ultimately will help areas ease tougher restrictions.
“This is just the start, and we are working quickly to roll out community testing more widely as soon as more local teams are ready. I urge all those living in areas where community testing is offered to come forward and get tested.”