CORONAVIRUS tests which will give results within 60 minutes are being rolled out across the entire North-East this week.

The Department of Health has confirmed all council areas in the region will be receiving a batch of 'lateral flow tests' as part of the mass testing programme.

The tests, which are understood to rapidly turn around results without need for lab analysis, are being first rolled out to priority groups.

The Government has named County Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland and Sunderland councils as taking part.

But councils in North Yorkshire have not been included in the first wave of the rollout.

How does the 60 minute test work?

The Department of Health says that lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that will be used to test a higher proportion of asymptomatic people.

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test but swabbing and processing of these tests will initially be conducted at testing sites by trained staff.

The devices have been designed with minimal training required to operate, while the Government is looking at how the test can eventually be self-administered.

Who will get the new test?

Test kits are being issued to over 50 directors of public health across England with each receiving a batch of 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices for those in priority groups.

Directors of public health will determine how to prioritise the allocation of the tests, based on the needs of their communities, and will determine how people in the local area are tested.

The Department of Health said the initial batch of 600,000 lateral flow devices will be followed up with a weekly allocation, equivalent to 10 per cent of the population.

'It will play a crucial role in tackling coronavirus'

Conservative MP for Stockton South, Matt Vickers welcomed the announcement that the region had been included in the rollout of the new test.

He said: “We have already reached a major milestone for testing – delivering on our target capacity of 500,000 a day.

“Mass testing will play a crucial role in tackling coronavirus, and it is excellent to see the Government deploying these new rapid-turnaround tests which can help identify thousands of people who don’t have symptoms but can still infect others without knowing.

"Alongside the vaccine that is on the horizon, this should play a huge part in normal life returning to the people of Teesside," he added.

Meanwhile Conservative MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson tweeted:

'We can detect the virus quicker than every before'

Matt Hancock said the rollout of the new test, as part of mass testing, was a "vital tool" in helping the Government to control the virus and "get life more normal."

He said: “Last week we rolled out mass testing in Liverpool using new, rapid technology so we can detect this virus quicker than ever before, even in people who don’t have symptoms.

"Mass testing is a vital tool to help us control this virus and get life more normal.

“I am delighted to say 10,000 of these tests will now be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to over 50 directors of public health as part of our asymptomatic testing strategy.

"I want to thank all directors of public health for their support and efforts over the past months to help us tackle this virus, bring it under control and get the country back to what we love doing.”

It comes as all councils in the North-East have asked to be included in the Government's mass testing programme, which will use the lateral flow tests to rapidly check for Covid-19 in communities in the region.