BRADFORD Council has clarified its position on the Government's mass testing programme, saying it has expressed an interest but is not part of the initial roll-out.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has written to every director of public health in England to make the government's new lateral flow tests available, with 66 local authorities responding asking to take part.

The new tests return results in less than an hour and in West Yorkshire, Calderdale and Wakefield are the only local authorities taking part. 

Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health for Bradford Council, said: “We have expressed an interest in taking part, but we are not among the initial 66 Local Authorities announced today.  But our understanding is that all local authorities will be sent these tests weekly.

“Every Local Authority will be given a number of these new lateral flow tests each week meaning it will take some time to cover the entire district’s population.  We are the fourth largest metropolitan district council in the country.

“We are now working to put in place a new delivery programme for when the new tests are made available to us."

Mr Hancock said: “I can confirm we are rolling out the sort of mass testing we are seeing in Liverpool, and indeed we earlier piloted in Stoke-on-Trent, across 66 local authorities.

“Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England saying we can make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give results in 15 minutes, and we can make them available to directors of public health right across the country.

“66 expressed an interest in the first instance, I’m now expecting a whole load more.”

Liverpool’s director of public health, Matt Ashton, on Saturday said the mass testing was showing positive signs after thousands of people were tested on the first day of the pilot scheme.