Rapid testing sites that provide COVID-19 results within 30 minutes are being rolled out across Greater Manchester this week.
The lateral flow tests are being designated for key worker groups – such as health and social care staff, homelessness teams, primary school teachers and support teams – across the borough for the next six weeks.
Tests will also be available to some others who are unable to work from home during the current national lockdown.
It is estimated that around one in three people with COVID-19 do not show typical symptoms of the virus – and Manchester City Council says that the introduction of weekly rapid lateral flow tests can help break chains of transmission by asymptomatic people.
Around 1,000 army personnel have been drafted in to provide support with the rapid testing sites – which will be hosted across all ten boroughs.
The council has said the testing venues will operate on an appointment basis seven days a week – accommodating work and shift patterns.
Staff will receive invites and booking telephone numbers through their management teams.
Any positive results will passed on to NHS test and trace system.
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, at Manchester City Council, said: “This by its nature is a very targeted exercise that will help to look after staff and all the people they are with during the course of work, that cannot be carried out at home.
“It will bring more confidence, and allow us to catch cases more quickly, as well as helping to keep vital services running that this city depends on.”
Colonel Russ Miller, Commander of Army Headquarters North West, added: “We are delighted to be supporting Manchester, along with the other nine boroughs in the city region, by deploying almost 1,000 soldiers – 250 of them in central Manchester – to achieve the city’s priorities for community testing.
“Having already been involved in the whole town testing pilot in the City of Liverpool and the ongoing programme in Lancashire, we have learned valuable lessons and bring that experience to this task.
“We look forward to working closely with our local authority and Public Health England colleagues over the coming weeks, training others to continue to deliver testing beyond that, and playing a part in helping the people of Greater Manchester back towards normality.”
For more information head over to the Manchester City Council website.