Walk-through coronavirus testing centre opens in Tipton

A walk-through coronavirus testing centre has opened up at a car park in Sandwell in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The facility has opened at Jubilee Park Car Park in Tipton today and will offer a range of appointments for people in the area.

It comes as figures in the week leading up to October 20 show the virus' seven-day rate in Sandwell sits at 212.8 cases per 100,000 people – with the area sitting in the "high risk" tier two of the Government's system.

It has prompted calls from health chiefs for people who show symptoms in the area to get themselves tested and follow virus guidelines.

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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.

"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 new site is part of more than 500 facilities available across the UK – including 78 drive-through sites, 228 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units.

Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: "Our new walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

"Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

"Everybody should continue to think hands, face, space, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted – this is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life."

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and will offer self-administered tests. Anyone with symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

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