CHIEFS at Sefton Council are urging anyone who has travelled to the borough from an area that is now in Tier 4 of the Government’s restrictions to get a SMART test to make sure they don’t have the virus.
Along with other Liverpool City Region, the Council wants people who have come to Sefton to get tested even if they don’t have coronavirus symptoms.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s director of public health said: “We want people who have travelled to the area recently from somewhere that has been designated Tier 4 because of the new, more infectious strain of coronavirus to get a SMART test. Available at our Bootle Leisure Centre, Southport Splash world and Aintree Racecourse, SMART tests tell people who don’t have coronavirus symptoms whether they the virus within about 30 minutes.
“By getting a test, you can make sure that you are not going to pass on COVID-19 accidentally to your friends and loved ones, who may be vulnerable to the virus.
“All three of our test centres are open between 9am and 6pm every day right up to Christmas Eve and you don’t need an appointment, you can just turn up and get a test.”
People wanting a test can find details of the Borough’s SMART test sites on a live map that show the precisely location of each test centre as well as giving an indication of how busy they are and the likely waiting time at https://sefton.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html. Most of the time they are all showing green with a waiting time of less than 15 minutes but if they get busier, Sefton Council will update the map to help people make a choice.
Commenting on the changed Christmas arrangements announced by the Prime Minister at the weekend, Margaret Jones added: "I can fully understand that many people will be disappointed by the Government’s latest change to the regulations, meaning the festive arrangements where three households can mix is now restricted to Christmas Day only. But, despite the let-down, I would urge people to stick to the guidance and also to minimise the risk of passing on the COVID-19 virus to your loved one accidentally when you do meet, by getting a SMART test for people who don’t have symptoms between now and Christmas Eve.
"Remember, just because the Government says three household bubbles can join up indoors on Christmas Day, it doesn’t mean we have to. We all need to be thinking what we ‘should’ do and that should be based on the knowledge that COVID-19 won’t be taking a holiday at Christmas and that for some of our loved ones, the virus could be very serious or even fatal.
“Looking beyond Christmas, sticking to the guidance will help ensure Sefton and the Liverpool City Region can stay in Tier 2 of the Government’s restrictions and avoid going back up into Tier 3, with the all the additional damage that will mean for local businesses and jobs.
“I really hope everyone can have a Merry Christmas but also a safe Christmas because they got tested before getting together and that with vaccination being rolled out, that we can all enjoy a better 2021.”