AROUND 28,500 people a week will be tested for Covid-19, as part of plans to roll out mass coronavirus testing in Bolton.

The town is one of just 67 places in the country to have been selected to administer the quick fire coronavirus tests to as much of the local population as possible.

Around 4,000 tests per day will be carried out under the plans.

Bolton’s health chiefs are now drawing up plans on how to administer the new lateral flows tests.

The test takes just minutes to administer with results available within 30 minutes.

Tests will be administered seven days a week.

Ten per cent of the population will be targeted every week under the programme, although a priority list of who should be tested has yet to be identified.

The aim of the mass testing programme is to “reach a higher proportion of the population, targeted where it will have the most impact, support the economy and wide society to return to a normal way of life”.

It will run alongside the current testing programme and focus on those people without symptoms.

Each local authority will run its own mass testing scheme, with the director of public health deciding how and from where tests are administered.

Priority groups for the mass testing programme are still to be determined and could include schools, care homes, blue light services and taxi-drivers.

Details on where the testing sites will be located are still being explored but are likely to be separate from current test sites.

Options being considered include mobile and static testing sites as well as workplace base tests together with walk-ins and drive-ins.

The sites would be separate from mass vaccination sites planned which would administer a vaccine later this year, or early next year.

Cllr Sue Baines, the borough’s executive cabinet member for health and wellbeing said the council was awaiting Government direction and that local authorities were working at Greater Manchester Combined Authority level to co-ordinate the programme.

It is hoped the mass testing programme can be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Cllr Baines said: “The public health team in Bolton is working very hard to ensure we are ready to roll out the programme, and I am being kept fully briefed everyday.

“We want to make sure everything is in place.

“There have been many positive developments with a potential vaccine and the mass testing programme. Our teams are ready and on standby.

“We are very fortunate to have such a good team in Bolton working together in partnership.”

Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals, says the Government, is designed to identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enable those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate, helping to drive down the R rate locally and save lives.

The pilot mass testing in Liverpool has been hailed a success.

The programme in Liverpool found 700 positive cases which would have not been detected otherwise.

On Monday, Liverpool City Council said 119,054 residents had been tested.