Mass testing for coronavirus in Liverpool is having a positive impact after just one day of testing experts have suggested.
On Friday, members of the public lined up in queues for hours in order to be given testing for the deadly Covid-19 virus after cases in the city spiked.
Last month, Liverpool was the first area in England to be plunged into the third tier of the government’s alert levels in the fight against the virus.
Since the tier three order on October 14, the whole of England has been put back into lockdown – with new restrictions blanketing the country since Thursday 5 November.
At its peak, cases of Covid-19 in the city were reported at 468 positive results per 100,000 people tested.
And now the entire city – with a population of just under one million at 902,000 – is being tested with the aim of 50,000 tests per day.
Liverpool director of public health Matt Ashton has reported that so far the results of the mass testing have been positive – after just one day of the scheme being in place.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "It was the first day yesterday and we didn't open first thing, we opened at lunchtime and had six of the asymptomatic testing centres open.
"We are still working on the numbers but we think (there were) about 1,500-2,000 people per testing centre, so really good numbers and really good interest, so it was very encouraging."
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Ashton said he thought an English lockdown had been necessary because Tier 3 restrictions had not been getting coronavirus transmission under control "by itself".
"The restrictions will absolutely help, they will reduce the levels of infection in our community because they will cut social contact."
He added: "The big question is will they cut them enough, will it take the levels of the virus low enough?"
Meanwhile, some experts have suggested the government decision to plunge the whole of England back into lockdown may have been premature.
Medical reports and research have suggested that the three-tier system was working before the government sent the country back into lockdown.
However, No 10 has rejected calls for the one-month lockdown – currently in day three – to be lifted early.
Professor James Naismith, who runs the scientific Rosalind Franklin Institute at Oxford University, said Office of National Statistics evidence had shown the virus slowing ahead of lockdown.
He told the Daily Mail: "Today's ONS data release for the week ending 31st October brings welcome news.
"Although the virus is still growing, it does appear to have stabilised… Importantly, these data present a picture consistent with the [Covid Symptom Study] data, that the virus is spreading at a constant rather than an increasing rate. This is evidence that the social restrictions prior to lockdown have had a real impact."
However, the Prime Minister's spokesman told the Daily Mail that the current lockdown will continue, stating: "The lockdown is for four weeks to the 2nd December. As we have said the trend of hospital admissions are going up."
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