MOBILE testing units are being rolled out in Bolton as surge testing gets underway in the borough's coronavirus hotspots.

And people living, working or studying in Rumworth, Deane or Great Lever are being urged to get tested at the units.

Bolton currently has the second highest infection rate in the country.

Covid infection rates in the BL 3 area have increased ­— with Rumworth South seeing cases rocket by 500 per cent, with a infection rate of 359.3 per 100,000 people.

In Lever Edge, part of Great Lever, cases have increased by 40 per cent.

The mass testing programme has been implemented after more cases of the South African and Indian variant were detected in Bolton.

Bolton has one of the highest rates of the Indian variant in the country.

Some cases are said to be linked to travel in 'high-prevalence' countries such as India.

The Bolton News: MAP: Darker the area the higher the case rate

(The darker the blue equals high prevalance of coronavirus cases and infection)

The other place with high rates of the variant  is London.

The Department of Health said a “small number” of cases of the variant first identified in South Africa (B.1.351) and a cluster of cases of the B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India had been found in Bolton.

It comes as Public Health England (PHE) upgraded the B.1.617.2 variant to a variant of concern.

Mobile testing units will be in place at Memory Lane Wedding Venue in Gilnow Lane and Makkah Mosque, Grecian Crescent. Home 'PCR' test kits will be available for collection and return at Deane Road Temple ­— Shree Swaminarayan Mandir ­— 161 Deane Road.

Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, said:“The rising infection rate is a reminder for us all that Covid-19 is still with us here in Bolton

“We have seen and felt the devastating consequences of this virus and how quickly it can spread quickly across our communities.

“If you live or work in Rumworth, Deane or Great Lever, help keep everyone safe by taking a PCR test at one of our MTU’s or by taking a home test kit. And do attend for your vaccine if eligible.

“Further measures to reduce the spread of infection will be announced shortly.

“In the meantime, continue to observe government restrictions and do not meet indoors with people you don’t live with and remember ‘hands, face, space’ and let fresh air in.”

Health bosses have reiterated that people should not be meeting indoors with anyone outside their household or bubble.

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should book a test as normal through the national portal and attend one of the regular PCR testing sites or, order a home test kit.

Anyone with a positive PCR test in the last 90 days does not need to attend the mobile testing unit

Testing, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space and following national guidance, is said to help stop the virus spreading.

Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate immediately and pass on their contacts’ details to NHS Test and Trace. Financial help and other support are available for those asked to self-isolate.