STAFF at Basingstoke hospital are part of a new trial that could see mass Covid testing brought in at settings across the UK.

Operation Moonshot was first announced by Boris Johnson in September, and aims to deliver 10 million Covid tests a day.

The idea would see people able to take super-fast tests that would allow life to return to much closer to normal before a vaccine is found.

And staff from Basingstoke hospital are joining colleagues from Manchester and Southampton in taking part in the trial.

Asymptomatic staff are being tested using a so-called lamp test: a swab and saliva test that delivers a result in 60-90 minutes, The Guardian reports.

These pilots will see individuals tested weekly as a minimum.

This will then be rolled out to schools, universities and care homes in the worst-affected regions in the country, using lateral flow tests.

They are tests that do not need processing in a laboratory and can give results in under an hour.

Mr Johnson told a No 10 press conference on Friday that the new tests were “faster, simpler and cheaper” and that work was being done to ensure they could be manufactured and distributed in the UK.

Mr Johnson said that Liverpool, Lancashire, and any other areas which enter the “very high” alert level would be “immediately prioritised” for fast turnaround tests.

The Government will also make tests available to local public health directors to help control localised outbreaks.

But Mr Johnson warned that a “cautious” approach should be taken to the new technology.

“No country in the world is regularly testing millions of people so we need to take the time to establish how to do this effectively and safely and to build the logistics and distribution operation,” he said.

“We won’t be able to get testing to get business back to normal quickly.

“In time we want to use tests to keep open more parts of the economy that have sadly been closed but it is crucial that we make sure such systems work safely,

“I must level with you that it will take time to get this right before many organisations can buy and operate these tests themselves.”