TEACHERS, pupils and care home visitors in York are set to be offered Covid tests - regardless of whether they have symptoms.

City leaders will also ask Government for mass coronavirus testing of residents, even those who are asymptomatic.

The request could see new test centres set up across the city - and could be rolled out quickly.

Tests for asymptomatic people who want to visit family and friends in care homes should be available in time for Christmas.

School pupils and teachers in bubbles where a positive case has been reported will also get a test, regardless of whether they have developed symptoms.

And people working in adult and children's social care and the voluntary sector will get tests.

Sharon Stoltz, York's public health director, said: “We know how important it is for children to be in school and for relatives to see their loved ones in care homes and we hope that extending targeted testing to more people will improve wellbeing for children and care home residents, particularly as we approach Christmas."

At a council meeting she said once an "expression of interest" in mass testing is submitted to the Department for Health and Social Care, the response could come within a week, adding: "The turnaround is quite quick."

The test centres at Poppleton Bar Park&Ride and Wentworth Way at the University of York remain open for people with symptoms to get a test.

A spokesperson for the council says the authority has been lobbying for months for more testing options.

The University of York is due to set up mass testing for students before they go home for the Christmas holidays - with a hall of testing booths set to open on campus on November 30 if the plans go ahead.

Students can be tested twice and the tests are not compulsory. Vice chancellor of the university Prof Charlie Jeffery said students will be asked to travel home between December 3 and 9.

He added that cases at the city's universities and colleges have dropped dramatically - with 55 active cases at the University of York currently, 10 at York St John and just a "small handful" at York College and Askham Bryan College.

Council leader Keith Aspden said: “We are delighted that plans to increase the amount of tests we can do in York are progressing.

“Following months of lobbying and working with our partners, I am pleased that we will be submitting our expression of interest for mass testing to be introduced in the city, so we can offer more tests to local residents and help slow the spread of the virus.”

The infection rate in York is now significantly below the national and regional average - at a rate of 175.7 cases per 100,000 rolling seven day average on November 13.

And the city's own test and trace programme has referred 225 cases, successfully reaching 76 per cent of contacts.

Fiona Phillips, from the public health team, said the impact of the second lockdown has not yet been seen in the infection rate - but the city has seen a significant drop in cases since going into Tier 2 restrictions.

Anyone with symptoms should book a test by visiting gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.