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Military to support Birmingham’s Covid-19 testing

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image captionThe ‘drop and collect service’ sees tests dropped off at a resident’s door and collected by staff

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Military support is being brought in to help with the coronavirus testing programme in Birmingham.

About 100 military personnel will aid Birmingham City Council with its .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}“drop and collect” testing programme.

At a weekly briefing, the council’s deputy leader said it would assist civilian efforts to maximise the numbers of tests able to be done.

It comes as the number of cases in the city reached 107.6 per 100,000 people – the highest in the West Midlands.

The “drop and collect service” sees tests dropped off at a resident’s door and then collected by staff and is aimed at areas with high rates of infection, to provide a service to people who can’t leave their homes and to encourage those who may not be proactive in getting tested.

A woman walks past Birmingham's town hallimage copyrightGetty Images
image captionBirmingham is one of the areas in the West Midlands which is under extra restrictions to curb increasing coronavirus cases

“We have been in talks with the military about them giving us some extra capacity for drop-and-collect,” deputy leader, councillor Brigid Jones told a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority on Friday.

She said their assistance would be “very much in an extra capacity, feet-on-the-ground sense” and 500 council staff had also been redeployed to the “drop-and-collect” testing service.

Ms Jones said that there are 30 wards in the city with more than 20 cases and Sparkhill has seen 70 cases in the last seven days and although testing has increased dramatically, the rate of positive cases to tests has also increased to 6.7%.

“Our plea to residents would be, if one of our staff knocks on your door, please take up the opportunity to take a test,” Ms Jones added.

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