New walk-in COVID-19 rapid flow test site opens on Southend seafront

A new walk-in COVID-19 rapid flow test site has opened ahead of the Easter weekend, in the heart of Southend seafront, with the full backing of local businesses.

The lateral flow device (LFD) test site is located in Twenty One on Pier Approach, Western Esplanade, the former Southend cultural venue close to the pier entrance, and is for people who are asymptomatic, which means they don’t have any of the known symptoms such as a temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss of taste or smell.

Anyone can walk in and get tested without an appointment and it is hoped this Easter weekend and beyond will see many people take advantage of the facility. The council’s other rapid testing sites across the Borough will be open as usual over Easter, apart from the St Aidan’s site which will open at Midday on Easter Sunday. Visit www.southend.gov.uk/gettested for more information.

Marc Miller, managing director of the Stockvale Group which includes adventure Island and Sealife Aventure, said: “Twenty One is another great addition to all of the safety measures we have put in place across Southend. If any members of staff or residents decide on their day out that they want to get tested, they can come here.

“The reason this LFD site is so good is because of the speed you get the results –people can pop in not showing any symptoms and have their results within half an hour. This is great as it helps to towards protecting everybody. In the element of doubt, get tested. Our Group will very much encourage our staff to visit Twenty One and get regularly tested.”

Joan Tiney chair of the Southend Seafront Traders’ Association and owner of the Borough Hotel on Marine Parade, said: “When we reopen we are trying to promote a safer Southend and I think this test site reinforces that. Obviously its up to visitors if they want to get tested but the facility is ready and available for them if they wish to do so and it’s in a great location, you don’t need to go far to get tested if you are visiting our seafront.”

Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health for Southend-on-Sea said: “We must all get tested regularly; when we are on a day out to the seafront, when our children are attending school, when we are going to work, even if we are visiting the supermarket regularly and shopping for loved ones. It is the only way to make sure we are not unknowingly spreading the virus and the only way to protect our loved ones and the local community.

“Even as the vaccination programme is further advanced, it is still important to get regularly tested and adhere to the rules in place.

“We know that Southend reopening and welcoming back visitors is a cause for concern for many. Fighting coronavirus and keeping our residents safe is a priority for us and will be the driving factor behind any decisions we take.

“Encouraging people to visit Southend must not be at the expense of people’s health. Our communities should feel reassured that the huge amount of planning already underway should allow people to travel into Southend and enjoy what the borough has to offer, while keeping both residents and visitors safe.

“Please continue to follow the rules in place such as hands, face , space, and if meeting outdoors please stay safe and stay two metres apart from those you don’t live with, even if you have been fully or partially vaccinated.”

You can also book a COVID-19 test at: www.southend.gov.uk/gettested

For trusted information about Coronavirus, please visit: www.southend.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]

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