A NEW walk-through testing centre is expected to open in the North-East next week as the government redoubles its efforts to tackle Covid-19.

The new site will be in the car park of the Chuter Ede Community Association in Galsworthy Road, South Shields.

Work on building the site is planned to get underway from Monday, December 7 with the facility opening to the public later next week.

A small number of car parking spaces on Galsworthy Road will be lost as the site temporarily during this short build but everything will be done to minimise the impact on local residents.

Once operational, the site will be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

The new site is situated so that it is accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.

While South Tyneside Council is supporting the establishment of the testing site, the facility is operated by the Department of Health and Social Care in partnership with Sodexo and will offer self-administered tests

Testing is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council.

Tom Hall, the Director of Public Health, said: “Prompt testing for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 is key to controlling the spread of the virus.

“The fact this is a walk-through site will make it easier for those who do not have a car to access a test .”

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test without delay through the national booking system at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.