Breakthrough: Liverpool conference first to use SMART testing

SMART testing (Systematic Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeated Testing) was successfully used for the first time among delegates at the business event Livercool Conference 2020.

Following mass testing of 90,000 of Liverpool’s residents in the first city-wide drive in the UK in early November, Liverpool City Council teamed up with Downtown in Business and ACC Liverpool to use SMART testing to increase Covid safety measures at the Livercool Conference 2020.

Guests who attended the conference at ACC Liverpool, we asked to take a Covid test at any of the six testing facilities across the city, including Exhibition Centre Liverpool, within 24 hours prior to attending the event. They were also required to present evidence of a negative test result to gain entry to the event.

As well as reducing the risk of infection at the conference, the SMART testing initiative aims to encourage the safe reopening of the economy and allow business events and conferences to start again.

Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s director of public health, said: “We have demonstrated over the last month that regular testing has a role to play in reducing transmission of Covid, enabling us to open up the economy.

“The best way to maintain our success in bringing the infection rate down is by people getting tested before they go out to mix with other people, such as at business events, on a night out or Christmas shopping.

Ashton highlighted the need to keep infection rates down in order to prevent the business meetings and events industry coming to a halt again – this can be achieved with SMART testing, also known as lateral flow testing.

LFD has been devised to continually test people, whether they’re showing symptoms or not because studies reveal that between one in four and one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but this doesn’t mean they are not infectious.

Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, operator of ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the M&S Bank Arena added that the group is committed to supporting Liverpool City Region to kickstart business events.

“As a key driver in the recovery of the visitor economy, we were proud to host the first conference in which SMART testing among guests took place.

“While we have all adapted to a new business landscape since March, nothing can replace face to face meetings and networking and this latest development – of which Liverpool is once again a forerunner – feels like a positive step towards the return of business events.”

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