Testing stepped up urgently in Wirral as cases surge

Wirral is adding more sites to its coronavirus testing programme as case numbers shoot up in the borough.

The steep rise has seen demand at Wirral’s current test centres rise, particularly the facility at the Hamilton Building on Conway Street, Birkenhead, and people were forced to wait as long as two hours for a test yesterday.

As well as the increase in infection numbers, five pubs in the borough have been forced to shut in the last week due to coronavirus cases and Cllr Pat Hackett, Wirral Council ’s leader, has said the borough faces a “ very real risk ” of a local lockdown.

In the House of Commons earlier this afternoon, Wallasey MP Angela Eagle asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock about the surge of cases in Wirral.

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She asked: “There has been a sudden sharp rise in infections in Wirral, what extra assistance can the Health Secretary promise my constituents who are fighting very hard against this pandemic?”

Responding, Mr Hancock said: “Absolutely we are vigilant and looking in the Wirral, it will be considered in the JVC silver and gold meetings in the coming days to pinpoint where the problems are.”

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In response to rising case numbers, Wirral Council is setting up a new semi-permanent testing site in a car park off Civic Way in Bebington. The centre will open tomorrow from 2pm-5pm, then on Thursday, September 10, from 10am-5pm and from 8am-8pm seven days per week after that.

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The Bebington site will have 12 testing bays that will accommodate approximately 288 tests per day.

You can book an appointment at the centre here or by calling 119.

The mobile testing centre will be stationed at Liscard municipal car park on Seaview Road tomorrow and Thursday from 10am-3.30pm.

These two facilities are in addition to the semi-permanent test centre at the Hamilton Building and the mobile testing site which is available to use at the Europa Leisure Centre in Birkenhead from today until Saturday, September 12, from 10am-3.30pm.

You can get a test at the mobile testing sites by appointment only and it is recommended that you book before getting tested at the semi-permanent sites in Birkenhead and Bebington to guarantee a slot, although you can get a test without booking in advance.

The Wirral satellite testing centre, based at Bidston station park and ride, is set to close on Friday, September 11.

Julie Webster, director of public health for Wirral, said: “We apologise for the long wait for coronavirus tests many people are currently experiencing. Demand for tests has increased as local people have stepped up to try and head off the rise in cases that we've seen in the last few weeks.

“We are doing all we can to add more testing capacity in more of our town centres so that we can meet this demand.”

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