Lambeth Council has “welcomed” mass testing to help detect asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the borough – but said questions over funding are “outstanding”.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed Lambeth is one of 67 local authorities in England to be included in the roll out of the Government’s mass testing programme, following a pilot in Liverpool.  

Southwark, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley, and Greenwich are also on the list. 

The new lateral flow tests provide a result in less than an hour, and people need minimal training to use them – the Government said it is exploring self-administration in the future.  

Around 10,000 tests will be made available to each area to help them start testing priority groups, which will then be followed up with a weekly allocation. 

Mr Hancock, said mass testing is a “vital tool” to help control the virus and “get life more normal”.  

However, many councils across the country are facing huge funding gaps in the wake of the pandemic and are concerned about how the programme is going to be funded.  

Councillor Jim Dickson, Lambeth’s cabinet member for health and adult social care, said mass testing “could prove to be an important tool in the ongoing battle to stop the spread of Covid-19”. 

“So we welcome the expansion of this programme to the borough after expressing interest in taking part. 

“This builds on the local contact tracing service launched in Lambeth on November 5 and our efforts in partnership with the community to encourage social distancing, in protecting the vulnerable and supporting businesses through this incredibly difficult time,” he said.  

But the cabinet member added: “As with all our work relating to Covid-19, there are outstanding questions relating to how this will be funded.  

“We also await further information about the lessons learnt from the mass testing pilot programme in Liverpool as we develop plans on how to best use these new tests in Lambeth.”