New community tested sites have been unveiled in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council has begun to roll out the government’s targeted rapid Covid-19 community testing initiative locally to help drive down transmission rates.

The council’s programme, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, is specifically aimed at asymptomatic people at small businesses, private early years settings and childminders.

Testing sites will be located at Monkton Park in Chippenham, Devizes Leisure Centre, the County Hall in Trowbridge and the Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury.

The Devizes and Salisbury test centres are now up and running, with the others due to follow soon. Until the other sites are open, the Devizes and Salisbury sites are currently the only ones that people can book a place for.

The centres cannot accept people dropping in, and everyone must book an appointment and not have any symptoms of Covid-19.

The self-administered test should take no more than 15 minutes and results should be known within half an hour.

People should visit or call 119 to book a test. Kate Blackburn, director of Public Health for Wiltshire, said: “Rapid community testing for asymptomatic targeted groups is another tool at our disposal to help control and drive down our case rates. If used effectively with other measures it will help reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading.

“I must really stress though that a negative Lateral Flow Test result is not a passport to freedom, and people must still closely adhere to all the COVID guidelines of washing hands regularly, socially distancing, and wearing a face cover where required.

“Local case numbers have fallen recently so we must all continue to play our part and not undo all the progress made recently.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell added: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.

“Around one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

“I’m delighted that Wiltshire Council are working with us roll out community testing in Wiltshire and I look forward to seeing the results.”