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Key worker coronavirus testing to be offered in Newbury

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Scheme seeks to prevent asymptomatic transmission among essential staff

Key workers in West Berkshire will be offered rapid Covid-19 tests twice a week.

West Berkshire Council says it will set up a testing centre in Newbury next week and more centres in the coming weeks.

It is part of a government-funded scheme which offers asymptomatic key workers lateral flow tests that provide results in around 30 minutes.

The scheme aims to prevent keys workers from transmitting the virus without realising.

The council says it will contact those who are eligible for a test and offer them an appointment. People will not be allowed to turn up for a test without an appointment.

Matthew Pearce, the council's head of Public Health, said: "We will be offering community testing twice a week to eligible key workers.

"These are workers who can't work from home and are critical to the functioning of the country.

"Our first testing site will go live in Newbury next week and there are more details to follow later this week.

"We are hoping to complement that with further testing sites throughout West Berkshire in the coming weeks."

The Government says more than 130 councils across the country have signed up to provide asymptomatic keys workers with lateral flow tests.

When the third national lockdown was imposed on January 4, West Berkshire's seven-day infection rate stood at 422.2 cases per 100,000 people.

It has been falling steadily since then and now stands at 200.1 cases per 100,000 people, after 317 new cases were recorded over seven days.

There have been 192 Covid-19 related deaths in West Berkshire, so far.

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