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City of York Council to submit mass Covid-19 testing plan

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image captionYork had the lowest infection rate per 100,000 in Yorkshire in the week to 14 November at 170.5.

Council leaders in York are to submit a bid to the government to introduce mass coronavirus testing in the city.

Members of the authority's outbreak management board (OMB) said increased testing capacity would help curb the spread of the virus.

The city had an infection rate of 170.5 per 100,000 in the week to 14 November - Yorkshire's lowest. Hull's was 751.4.

Earlier this month the government said mass rapid testing schemes would be rolled out to 67 more areas in England.

Mass testing means asking everyone to be tested, whether or not they have symptoms.

The idea is to find healthy people who may be infected, but not yet displaying symptoms. They can then be told to isolate to avoid spreading the virus.

Speaking at a meeting of the OMB on Wednesday, York's Director of Public Health Sharon Stoltz said: "I'm really excited by the opportunity to be able to do more localised testing."

Council leader Keith Aspden added: "Increased testing capacity in the city is something we have called on the government to deliver for months to ensure that our local efforts in stopping the spread of the virus are successful."

Members of the OMB also agreed to extend targeted testing to York care home visitors in time for Christmas, and for school children and teachers in bubbles that had reported a positive case.

Speaking earlier this month, health secretary Matt Hancock said: "Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal."

York had been under Tier 2 restrictions prior to the second national lockdown.

The first mass testing scheme was piloted in Liverpool, with samples taken from more than 100,000 in the first 10 days.

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