Soldiers stationed in Merseyside holiday park ahead of Liverpool mass testing

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Soldiers have been bussed in to a holiday park in Merseyside as Liverpool prepares for a mass coronavirus testing programme.

About 2,000 Armed Forces personnel are being deployed to the area for the pilot of mass testing in England.

The programme, which will begin on Friday, will mean anyone living or working in the city can be tested regularly, even if they have no symptoms, in an approach which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in our fight against Covid-19”.

Soldiers at Pontin’s in Southport (Peter Byrne/PA)
Soldiers at Pontins in Southport (Peter Byrne/PA)

Army and police vehicles were also seen arriving at the site, which is usually a holiday destination for families staying at the seaside resort.

Soldiers will work alongside NHS Test and Trace and commercial partners to support the mass testing by planning logistics and delivering the rapid turnaround lateral flow testing part of the programme.

Speaking when the initiative was announced on Monday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We will be deploying 2,000 talented Armed Forces personnel to, once again, rise to the challenges posed by Covid-19 to ensure we go above and beyond for the Liverpool community – we will have your backs throughout the trial.

Equipment arrives at Pontin’s in Southport where soldiers are staying ahead of the start of mass Covid-19 testing in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)
Equipment arrives at Pontins in Southport where soldiers are staying ahead of the start of mass Covid-19 testing in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

The aim of the programme is to find asymptomatic cases in order to help prevent and reduce transmission in the community.

Testing will be carried out in new and existing sites across the city, including in hospitals, care home settings, schools, universities, workplaces and using at-home kits

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