Wokingham Borough Council is in the final stages of negotiating a deal to provide key workers with at least 1,000 Covid-19 tests.

The council has approved plans to pay a private firm up to £120,000 to provide testing in Wokingham, as the NHS Test and Trace service struggles to meet local demand for testing.

A company is offering to provide swab test kits, which each cost around £105, and return all results within 48 hours.

However, the Conservative-run council will not reveal the name of that company until the deal is done.

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A council spokesman said: “The details of the deal are being finalised and so we cannot release the name at this time.”

The council estimates it will need to order at least two batches of 500 tests, which each have a 12-month shelf life.

At a council meeting on Thursday, September 24, councillor Charles Margetts, executive member for health, said the tests will be “reserved for emergency situations”, such as a major outbreak.

“We don’t know how long the national system will take to recover enough capacity so this seems to me like a sensible step to mitigate the risk to Wokingham residents,” he said.

“The price includes the whole testing service and not just the test kit.

“So it includes the kit, the courier to the lab, the lab processing and public health having access to the test results.”