TESTING for the Indian variant of Covid 19 has been introduced in Formby and Ainsdale after an outbreak was identified in the area.
Health chiefs have moved to reassure Sefton residents that the variant is ‘not thought to affect people more seriously, inhibit the effectiveness of the vaccines, or to be more infectious’ than the dominant Kent variant.
Mobile, drive-through test centres were launched on Friday, May 14 at Deansgate Lane Park in Formby and Ainsdale Hope Centre on Sandringham Road as well as a walk-through test centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre on Park Lane.
The Deansgate drive-through test centre will be open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday and the PDC on Park Lane will be open 9am-4pm seven days a week. The test centre at Ainsdale will be open 9am-8pm seven days a week. Appointments are not needed for tests at any of these centres. Sefton Council’s Public Health team have also finalised locations for smaller, pop-up test sites in the community.
Margaret Jones (above) Sefton’s director of public health said: “Working with Public Health England, in response to a localised outbreak of infections and cases of the variant first identified in India, we have identified sites for test centres in and around Formby.
“We are encouraging everyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in Formby to attend one of these dedicated local test sites, once they are open.
“Anyone who has visited any venue in Formby over the last two weeks is also welcome to be tested at these test sites. It’s important that people go to these dedicated test sites and not to our other sites, as these are the ones specifically set up to identify the Indian variant.
“This variant, which has been classified by Public Health England as a ‘variant of concern’, has been linked with coronavirus cases in Sefton’s Formby area.
“This variant, which was first identified in India, is not thought to affect people more seriously, inhibit the effectiveness of the vaccines, or to be more infectious than the dominant Kent variant.
“However, identifying cases is important so that infections can be identified, traced and contained before they spread any further will support the return to a more normal life that we all want to see.
“I am confident that our local communities will, as they did in Southport earlier this year, help us by taking part in this local, dedicated testing.”
The pop-up sites appeared at Formby and Freshfields rail stations on Tuesday (May 18) and will be there to Friday (May 21) from 9am and 4pm.
The sites are offering PCR tests to people without COVID-19 symptoms as part of efforts to find cases of the Indian variant.