Rapid coronavirus testing is being rolled out to anyone in Manchester unable to work from home and who have no access to asymptomatic testing at their workplace.

From today (March 2) existing testing sites will be used as part of continued efforts to prevent Covid-19 from being spread by people who are unaware that they have the virus.

Manchester council says around one in three people can have Covid-19 without knowing it.

Testing will be offered on a twice-weekly basis from Monday to Saturday at six sites across the city, and will only be given to those who book in advance.

Smaller businesses, freelancers and sole traders in Manchester will be eligible for the council-run testing programme.

Larger businesses of 50 to 200 or more people are being asked to sign up to a government scheme by March 31 which will allow them to do their own testing on their premises.

Lateral flow devices, which involve a swab of the nose and throat like the regular PCR coronavirus test, will be used and can give results within half an hour.

If the person taking the test receives a positive result they must self-isolate immediately and the result will be fed into the NHS Test and Trace system.

Coronavirus testing at the Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurdwara in Moss Side

But those with a negative result can continue to work while following Covid safety measures such as social distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings.

Councillor Bev Craig, executive member for adult health and wellbeing at Manchester council, said: "We are committed to making our city as safe as possible and that includes every measure to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“We estimate that around one in three people can have the virus without knowing it, which makes it imperative that we are vigilant in helping to protect those who cannot work from home, and also the people they work with."

Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter

You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here

To book an appointment at one of the rapid testing centres, call 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020. The booking number is open Monday to Friday.

Appointments are available on weekdays and Saturdays at a range of different times to suit work and shift patterns.

For more information about the government workplace testing scheme, visit this website.