AN employee at a North-East coronavirus testing site is urging more people to get tested.

The man, who did not want to be identified because of fears of losing his job, works at the Teesside drive-through site but said many of the people he has spoken to about testing do not know what the process is.

He said: “People are asking me about testing every day, I want them to know they can rock up and get a test."

He added: "Sometimes we do a 14 hour shift and for 11 of them I might not see a car.

“I think a lot of it is because there’s a lot of misinformation about it. You can walk up and get tested. You can even register in our car park.

“I understand why people don’t go for testing but I think a lot of it is a lack of knowledge. People are asking if they have to pay.”

The drive through regional test centre for Teesside is based at the unused Sainsbury's supermarket in Middlehaven, Middlesbrough.

There are also a number of mobile sites, the locations of which can change, including at Belmont Park and Ride, on the outskirts of Durham, Bishop Auckland, Shildon and Mowden Park, Darlington.

The next closest permanent testing centres are in Newcastle, Leeds and Penrith.

Anyone displaying a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste is urged to get a test, which is available for free.

People are also being told to get a test if they live with someone displaying any of the symptoms or if they live, work or study in an area with a coronavirus outbreak.

Patients who have been told to get a test before going to hospital are also eligible.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud.

Anyone over the age of 12 can do the swab themselves, or can get someone else to do it. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.

The man added: “We’re sat there bored. The boredom gets to you. Sometimes we’re taking more breaks than actually working.

“It’s becoming painful for the guys. They’re trying to do something for their community.

“I don’t understand why people don’t do it more. There’s no limit, it’s a safe procedure. A lot of people who get them are doctors, nurses and 101 responders.”

For details about how to book a test visit