SURGE testing and vaccination 'clinics' are set to be extended in Bolton.

After the success of the response to the new 'Indian' coronavirus variant in the BL3 and BL4 areas enhanced testing and vaccination will now be rolled-out in Halliwell and Central Bolton from this weekend.

The community has pulled together over recent weeks with volunteers, residents and key organisations working to deliver test kits door-to-door and administer thousands of vaccines in Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever.

The same programme will now be extended to Halliwell and Central Bolton in the coming days, with a view to extending this further in the borough in the next few weeks.

Test sites and door-to-door testing will begin this weekend and will see Bolton Council and our voluntary sector working alongside both the army and the national Surge Rapid Response Team.

In the coming days, teams will go door-to-door in Halliwell and Central Bolton to hand out test kits, returning the same day to collect them.

Tests will also be available for collect and return at Mere Hall (Merehall St, BL1 2QT) and Halliwell UCAN (Hatfield Rd, BL1 3BU).

Home test kits will also be available for collection and return at Darley Court (Shepherd Cross St, BL1 3BS) and other community venues in the area.

Alongside testing, there will be a renewed vaccine push with a particular focus on those who are eligible but have not yet had their first dose of the jab.

A local walk-in vaccination centre is set to be set up shortly.

Bolton Council’s director of public health, Dr Helen Lowey, said: “It has been a challenging two weeks as Bolton responds to a substantial rise in the local infection rate but we know the community is more than equal to the challenge.

“I want to thank the residents of Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever for their fantastic response and engagement with both testing and the vaccine.

“We now want to roll this out to other areas, so people can protect themselves by getting the vaccine and protect others by taking a test and isolate if positive.

“We will be focusing on Halliwell and Central Bolton in the coming days but no matter where you live in Bolton you can help bring the virus under control.

“Take a test and self-isolate if you are positive and take up the vaccine when it is offered. Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep social distance and let fresh air in.”

Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the vaccination programme in Bolton said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to our targeted vaccination work in the BL3 and BL4 areas, and this will continue for as long as is necessary.

“To complement the testing programme in the BL1 area, we will step up vaccination sites accordingly, which we will announce soon.

“A massive thank you to everyone working hard on the ground and behind the scenes to make this happen.

“We must keep the pressure on this virus and tackle it together.”

Enhanced testing is a process whereby everyone living, working or studying in a specific area, who does not already have symptoms, is asked to take a Covid-19 test.

Residents with COVID symptoms should book a test as normal via the national online portal.

Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate to protect others and may be eligible for financial assistance and other support. Contact Bolton Councils COVID-19 Helpline for more information on 01204 337221.