The Government has announced a community testing programme for Lincolnshire which will target communities in Lincoln and Boston.

Testing will help protect people most at risk, using rapid turnaround tests supplied by NHS Test and Trace.

Final plans and details around the testing sites are being put in place and more information will be confirmed this week.

“This is a massive boost for Lincolnshire’s testing plans, running alongside the rollout of vaccines for our most vulnerable residents and critical support staff”, said Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council.

“Using local knowledge and expertise, it will mean testing for all people in some areas, whether they have symptoms or not, with easy access to additional local testing sites being finalised in Lincoln and Boston.”

“Many people may not be showing symptoms but will be carrying the virus so this will help identify these hidden infections and slow the rate of transmissions.”

Leader of Boston Borough Council, Councillor Paul Skinner, said: “We are pleased that Boston has been identified alongside Lincoln for an Enhanced Community Testing programme. The Boston team are working hard around the clock with partners and plans are well underway for this to be rolled out in the following days.

“By increasing the amount of testing done, we can identify more people who do not have coronavirus symptoms, but who are infectious and unknowingly spreading the disease to others.

“The tests are safe and free, taking less than 15 minutes to administer and with a result in under an hour.

“Once we can confirm dates when this will be up and running, how it will operate, where it will operate from and how people access it we will communicate this to the community.”

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, added: “This is an important step forward in our fight to bring down coronavirus transmission levels in Lincoln.

“In the UK, it is estimated that as many as one in 50 people may currently have the virus. Many do not have symptoms and so are spreading the disease unknowingly.

“The more people that can be tested the better as this helps us identify cases and to encourage people to isolate in order to break the chain of infection.

“We all want an end to lockdown and a return to normality and this additional further testing, alongside the ongoing vaccination programme, will help achieve this.

“I encourage residents to take advantage of the service and take a test. It is important that we all play our part in keeping Lincoln safe.”

Testing sites will be easily accessed and a quick process for people using lateral flow tests through the usual nose swabbing. If there is a positive response then people will be given a further PCR test with results known within 24 hours.