A NEW walk-through coronavirus testing site has opened in Halliwell ­— but appointments must be booked online or by phone.

The centre has opened at Mere Hall Drive car park.

It is the latest centre to open in Bolton as infection rates reach close to 200 per 100,00 people in the town.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute.

Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 and you can expect your result the next day.

Those being tested must adhere to social distancing and not to travel to the site by taxi or public transport.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.

Testing at the new site started today with more appointments available each day.

The Government said today the site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, including 75 drive-through sites, 83 walk-through sites, 236 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and three mega laboratories across the country

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts.

This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at a test if they develop symptoms.

Bolton MP Mark Logan welcomed the opening of the centre, saying he has been working closely with the Government to bolster COVID-19 testing and in particular with the local community, by identifying opportunities to open mobile coronavirus testing sites.

He said: "

“I welcome this joint effort, it’s a great example of Boltonian community spirit coming together to create more testing capacity in Bolton’s time of need”

"Appointment slots are released periodically throughout the day and are released in pre-agreed numbers aligned to available lab capacity. Citizens are advised to try again in a few hours if they are unable to find a suitable appointment slot at that moment in time.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Testing is proving an effective way to contain the virus so we are scaling testing capacity and walk-through centres to make it even easier for everyone to get a free coronavirus test.

“Our NHS Test and Trace service will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus. I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”