TEN thousand so-called ‘lateral flow’ tests a week for Covid-19 – which can provide results in under half an hour – have been allocated to the district as infection rates continue to rise.

Bradford Council bosses say the allocation will create more capacity to test certain areas, such as care home residents and staff in a bid to help re-introduce visiting – and where school outbreaks may be prevented.

But there is a warning that the supply will not be enough to facilitate Liverpool-style mass testing.

The Government has announced it is distributing 600,000 of the tests, which mean samples can be processed quickly and onsite without the need for laboratory equipment, to councils in the UK.

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “We can confirm that the allocation of up to 10,000 lateral flow tests per week announced by the Secretary of State does include Bradford.

“We expressed interest on the same day we heard about the opportunity. However, details from Government still need confirming as it made a sudden announcement before full details were available.

“Clearly 10,000 lateral flow tests a week will not enable us to test anything like the 537,000 population of the Bradford district so this is not mass testing on the scale of the Liverpool pilot.

“However, it will provide additional capacity to test more people and to test in specific situations.

“Our director of public health will decide on priorities for the deployment of these additional tests in consultation with the outbreak control board.”

She said many people were asking about the possibility of mass testing, and that Bradford – together with a number of other local authorities – was in discussion with national government about the options.

“It is being piloted in Liverpool using lateral flow testing to see whether it is an effective approach to identifying levels of infection in a large population,” added Cllr Hinchcliffe.

“The objective of this kind of test, as opposed to the ones we are used to through the national testing sites, is that it is easy and gives a result within 30 minutes.

“Anyone testing positive then knows to self-isolate, thereby preventing transmission of the virus. Liverpool was chosen as a national pilot for mass testing and we are all watching to see what lessons can be learned.”

She says there is no "silver bullet" to keeping infection rates in the district down and reiterates the message that every person needs to play their part.

"What is essential if we are to beat this virus is for everyone who exhibits symptoms, tests positive or is shown to be asymptomatic to self-isolate immediately," said Cllr Hinchcliffe.

"Research has shown that nationally only 18 per cent of people self-isolate for the full ten days if they show symptoms. We have to change that."