Harsher lockdown restrictions ruled out for Dudley this week - as new walk-through testing facility opens

Dudley will not be moving into harsher Covid-19 restrictions this week, the Express & Star understands, as a new walk-through testing facility opened.

Dudley will not be moving into tier two restrictions this week
Dudley will not be moving into tier two restrictions this week

The borough, which is the only part of the Black Country under tier one "medium" alert measures, has been considered for a move up to tier two due to rising coronavirus cases.

But following a gold command meeting this afternoon health chiefs have agreed to leave Dudley under the lowest level of measures, pending a further review next week.

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The news comes as a new testing facility opened at the zone two long-stay car park off Oakeywell Street.

The facility is situated so it is easily accessible to residents with symptoms without a car.

Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practicing good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout.

Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Appointments will be made available each day.

It is part of the Government's UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We continue to expand testing to make sure that everyone with symptoms can get a test, with our new walk-in sites making it even easier no matter where you live.

Self-administered tests

“This new site forms part of our national testing network, which has the capacity to test more than a million people a week and is growing all the time.

“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others around you and stop the spread of the virus.”

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Serco and will offer self-administered tests.

Kevin Craven, Serco CEO for UK and Europe said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government and the NHS in setting up and managing the new testing centre in Dudley, as well as the testing centres we are already operating.

“I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues who have worked extremely fast and professionally, and with the other organisations involved, to set up these centres having deployed from other roles within Serco. I know that they are proud to be doing their part in helping the country tackle coronavirus.”

Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Solihull will remain in tier two of the latest restrictions, while it is understood that Coventry will move up to that level.

Coronavirus cases in Dudley have risen by almost 50 per cent over the past week, with the infection rate at 135.9 per 100,000 population in the seven days to October 16.

Under tier one measures the rule of six applies, while pubs and restaurants must close at 10pm.

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