Plans have been released for a Lighthouse laboratory dealing with testing and a Covid-19 research hub, which could create 1,100 jobs in the North of England.

The new facility would serve the North East region, as well as northern Cumbria and Yorkshire, and would be the latest expansion of the Government’s national Test and Trace programme.

The Lighthouse lab will be based in Gateshead with a specialist innovation lab at the Helix site in Newcastle, focused on developing new approaches to coronavirus science.

The project will be a partnership between Newcastle City Council and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as well as public health teams, local universities and industry.

Trust chief executive Dame Jackie Daniel said: “This is an exciting and important investment in the North East, which will create 1,100 public sector jobs.

“The collective effort in combating the pandemic to date has been outstanding and owes much to the excellence of services, partnership working and also the public playing their part in minimising the spread of the virus.”

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said: “Newcastle is an ambitious, resilient city and announcements like this will help our city bounce back from the pandemic.”

Eugene Milne, Newcastle’s director of public health, said: “This new facility will bring together the expertise of public health, the NHS and our universities.

“The work done here will play a critical role not only in dealing with Covid-19, but also to support work to identify, prevent and deal with any future pandemics.”

Testing for Covid-19 is now available to people in Cumbria at a range of locations.

All tests must be booked in advance. You must go through the process to book an appointment. Tests can be booked by visiting

You can also call 119 if you have problems using the internet the phone line is open between 7am and 11pm.