Government announces new Lighthouse Labs

Two new Lighthouse Labs have been announced in Newcastle and Bracknell to help scale up testing capacity ahead of winter.

The new Lighthouse Labs follow the previous announcements of others in Newport and Charnwood, which the government hopes will scale testing capacity to help deliver 500,000 tests per day by the end of October.

To accommodate the announcement, the government has outline measures including the recruitment of hundreds of additional staff and new technology to boost the number of tests processed. A further 20 new testing sites are opening across the country this week.

The Department of Health and Social Care says that the lab in Newcastle will be able to deliver 80,000 tests per day by the end of March, and Bracknell 40,000 tests per day by February.

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “We are working tirelessly to boost testing capacity so that everyone who needs a test can get one. Each day, around 200,000 people are successfully booking and taking tests and we are growing our capacity to 500,000 tests across the UK by the end of October, with more and more capacity being added each week.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is that only those with symptoms book tests. The service is there for those experiencing a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change in sense of taste or smell. If you don’t have symptoms but think, or have been told by NHS Test and Trace, that you have been in contact with someone with the virus, please stay at home but do not book a test. We need everyone to help make sure that tests are there for people with symptoms who need them.”

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