People visiting two of the St Helens borough’s parks this weekend will have the opportunity to get a quick and easy Covid-19 test on the go, as part of a pilot testing programme in public spaces.

Tomorrow, April 17, residents in St Helens will be able to visit a mobile testing van set up in Mesnes Park, Newton-le-Willows and on Sunday, April 18, a mobile testing van set up in Taylor Park.

Both operating from 10am-3pm, visitors to the parks can get a supervised test at the testing van or take home a free rapid test kit for later use.

The 'easy to use' lateral flow tests give a result in less than an hour, because they don't have to be sent to a lab to be processed.

St Helens Borough Council said regular testing is a" crucial way" of "breaking the chains of transmission" and that the programme could soon be rolled out to other public spaces including retail parks, sports clubs and events.

Sue Forster, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: "With one in three people presenting no symptoms, regular testing is a crucial way of breaking the chains of transmission, protecting lives and making sure we keep Covid-19 rates low, as we’ve all worked so hard to achieve in recent months.

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"If you’re out in these parks this weekend please consider visiting the mobile testing van.

"A negative test can give you peace of mind that you’re not unknowingly contributing to the spread. And now that symptom-free testing is open to everyone please make use of the free testing options we have and get tested twice a week to protect our communities."

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Symptom-free testing stations for a quick, free, supervised test for those who do not have covi-19 symptoms are currently available in the borough:

At the following times:

Walk ins to collect a Covid-19 home testing kit are available - subject to availability - as well as at Fairclough Street Car Park, Earlestown and Haydock Park Racecourse, Newton-le-Willows, both from Monday to Friday between 2.30pm and 8pm

St Helens Borough Council said there is no need to make an appointment to collect a home test kit and do not visit a collection site outside of opening hours, as they could be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside of these times.

If you are 18 or over, you can collect two packs of home test kits; each pack contains seven tests.

To find out more about testing in the borough click here.