Six new ‘walk through’ local testing sites are now offering appointments to people in England, with the capacity to test hundreds of people each day and are all easily accessible by foot or on a bike (Photo: Luis Alvarenga/Getty Images/Getty Images).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday (June 26) has urged the public to get tested for Covid-19 as access to virus testing has expanded further locally.

Six new ‘walk through’ local testing sites are now offering appointments to people in England, with the capacity to test hundreds of people each day. All these sites are all easily accessible by foot or on a bike.

Three months since the first regional drive through test site was set up in Nottingham, there are now 68 such sites across the country, alongside the six new walk-through sites in England, new mobile testing units, and special home test postboxes for safe and easy returns, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.

The NHS Test and Trace service has identified 113,925 people as recent close contacts since the service began on May 28.

The new walk-through sites will focus on offering appointments to people without cars who can safely travel on foot, without coming into contact with others.

DHSC said these sites will continue to be expanded where there is demand from local communities.

“The biggest network of diagnostic testing in UK history is ready and able to offer a test to anyone, anywhere in the country,” Hancock said.

“It is encouraging to see transmission of the virus is going down, but we all still have a part to play to limit this further. Getting tested as soon as you develop symptoms is an essential step to protect the most vulnerable and help us to safely ease lockdown measures.”

A total of 30 additional mobile testing units are now travelling the UK, responding to increased regional demand for testing, and supporting hard to reach areas.

This brings the total of mobile units to 147, currently staffed by military personnel in England, Scotland and Wales and by civilian staff in Northern Ireland. This number will further increase to 236 across the UK by the end of July.

Home testing kits can now be returned without booking a courier service, allowing those choosing this testing option to post their testing kits at any of the 30,000 Royal Mail priority postboxes across the UK, which will all be marked by a regionalised NHS logo by 3 July.

Specialised translation services will soon be offered across a range of 68 drive-through testing sites, to support people who don’t speak English as their first language such as Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, and British Sign Language for people with hearing difficulties.

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