ONE of Bradford’s most prominent buildings has been turned into a rapid Covid-19 testing site.

St George’s Hall, in the heart of the city centre, is being used for the new testing programme, along with Airedale Shopping Centre in Keighley.

Lateral Flow tests, which give results in 30 minutes, will be used in a bid to identify asymptomatic people who have Covid-19.

The St George’s Hall site got up and running yesterday, while the the centre at Airedale Shopping Centre will be launched tomorrow.

Earlier this month, it was announced that a rapid testing programme was to be rolled out in the Bradford district, to help protect those most at risk from the virus.

It’s aim is to help protect those at highest risk by helping to identify people who have high levels of the virus, but who do not have symptoms and would not otherwise be coming forward for a test. It will also provide vital information to help inform the further roll out of mass testing technology in future.

Around one in three people who have the virus never show any symptoms - but that does not mean they are not infectious and unwittingly spreading it to those that they come into contact with. Those who test positive can stop the chain of transmission by self isolating.

However, Sarah Muckle, Bradford’s Director of Public Health, warned that Lateral Flow tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, which detect the genetic code of the virus, and they can give false results.

She said this could result in a situation where someone with Covid-19 may not be detected by the test, so people should be tested regularly using Lateral Flow devices.

People with symptoms of Covid-19 must book a test in the usual way.

Latest figures for the Bradford district show a week-on-week fall in the infection rate.

In the seven days to December 10, 939 new Covid cases were recorded, equating to an infection rate of 174.0. In the seven days to December 17, 862 new cases were recorded which equates to an infection rate of 159.7.

In comparison, Thurrock, in Essex, is currently in Tier 4 and has the highest infection rate in England, with 2,055 new cases and infection rate of 1178.7.

Meanwhile, Black, Asian and minority ethnic GPs from Bradford have come together to help provide information about the coronavirus vaccine. They have recorded a series of films in community languages, which include Urdu and Pashto, to explain more about the coronavirus vaccine, why it’s important for people to take up the offer when invited, and what it means for people.

The videos, available on YouTube, are aimed at helping people over the age of 80, who are being invited for vaccination by the NHS, to have accurate, clear information about the vaccine, which is being offered to those people who are most at risk from the virus first to make sure they are protected as quickly as possible

Dr Safina Haque, GP Partner at the Kensington Partnership and Clinical Director of the Primary Care Network, Bradford, said: “This vaccination programme is the biggest and one of the most significant in NHS history, and is of course exciting news for many people. We know how important it is for people to have the right information, in a way that is meaningful for them, so they can make informed choices about their care. We really hope that these videos will help vulnerable patients take up the offer of the vaccination.

“GPs and healthcare workers have a huge responsibility in making sure that our patients, especially those for whom English may not be their first language, understand that this vaccination could be a potential life-saver.”

Yesterday, it emerged that more than half a million people in the UK have been vaccinated against Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference more than 500,000 people have now received their first dose of the two-part vaccine.

People can take a look at the videos by visiting the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership YouTube channel. Further videos in other languages are also being developed and will be released soon. Woodroyd Medical Centre in West Bowling; Barkerend Health Centre and Shipley Medical Practice are the latest sites to join the vaccine rollout in the district. This adds to Skipton Hospital; Long Lee surgery in Keighley and Canalside Health Care Centre, Bingley. Some patients have also been offered appointments at BRI.