Leicester lockdown: Door-to-door Covid-19 tests run for first time

By Sandish Shoker
BBC News, East Midlands

Pop-up test site
Image caption,
Pop-up test sites have been set up in parts of the city

Door-to-door coronavirus testing is being carried out in Leicester - the first such move in the UK.

NHS teams and volunteers are in affected areas of the city dropping off test kits for people even if they do not have symptoms.

Deepa Chauhan, one of those tested in the new scheme, said it was "pretty simple, but strange".

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, said increased testing was the only way to reduce the infection rate.

Since the local lockdown began, eight fixed test centres have opened across the city where up to 2,000 tests have been carried out daily.

People are also being encouraged to attend pop-up test sites or order kits online.

Ivan Brown, director of public health at Leicester City Council, said he hoped the doorstep tests would increase the number to 3,000.

"We cannot afford to be complacent," he said.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
A walk-in test centre has been set up at Spinney Hill Park with self-test stations

The council said testing has also increased at care homes with 5,000 staff and residents being tested this week.

It said community testing had focused on the north-east of the city where positive results has been higher, but will be extended to other areas.

Mr Soulsby added: "It's really important we know where the virus is so that we can isolate it and stop it from being passed on.

"The sooner we do that, the sooner we will see the current restrictions on Leicester lifted."

Image source, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
Image caption,
Teams will be seen in neighbourhoods across the city to encourage more people to get tested

Mrs Chauhan, from Hamilton, said: "An NHS volunteer came round and gave us a test kit. They asked us to carry it out and said they would come back in 20 minutes to collect it.

"We would expect to go somewhere and have someone carry it out for you, instead of doing it at home."

Baroness Dido Harding, from NHS Test and Trace, said this was the first time they had been able to take the service to people's doorsteps.

She added: "This is a significant step in making it as easy as possible for everyone to get a test where we have an area with high prevalence.

"I am immensely proud of all we have achieved, building a system from scratch which is now able to offer a door-to-door service where it is needed most."

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