ARMY medics have been in Poole helping Public Health England rapidly test school students for coronavirus.

Medics have supported Public Health England and the department of health and social care in trials of a new antigen test designed to give rapid results.

The military was deployed to Poole, as well as Salisbury and Lewisham elsewhere in the country.

The test sees a swab taken from the back of the throat.

It is then smeared on to a chemical test strip that indicates within 20 minutes whether the person has tested positive or negative forCovid-19.

The lateral flow antigen tests are designed to provide rapid results to be used in public venues such as airports and theatres.

Sergeant Louise Arthur worked alongside PHE to carry out the testing at a school in Lewisham.

She said: “The test a really quick and simple process – after we’ve checked paperwork and done the test, the person is in and out within two minutes – and everyone has been absolutely fine with it.

“As medics, it’s been interesting for us to be involved in developing a bit of cutting-edge science that, if it passes all the trials, will enable us to live alongside Covid-19 better and help us take a step towards normality.”

PHE confirmed the pilot of the antigen tests was led by scientists at PHE Porton Down alongside academics at the University of Oxford.

It also said the evaluation pilots have PHE ethical approval and participation was entirely voluntary and consent was needed.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “Military has done two rounds of school testing which includes a school in Poole.

“50 medics went into schools and tested more than 1500 staff and pupils.

“Those between 11 and 16-years-old had to get consent from parents to be tested, those over could give consent themselves.”

The spokesperson said the Ministry of Defence are ready to assist should the department of health and social care roll out the tests further.

Reports suggested the medics were in Poole High School testing students, focussing primarily on year 11 pupils.

The Daily Echo contacted Poole High School for a comment but received no reply.

The department of health and social care was also contacted for a comment but no reply was received.