TWO new coronavirus testing centres are being opened in Worcestershire as infection rates continue to rise.

The new testing locations, which will be in Malvern and Evesham, will be in addition to the five existing test centres already in the county.

It is not known yet where the new testing centres will be, but West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said she had been briefed on the plans this week, along with plans to open two further sites in the county to add extra capacity to its testing system.

She said: “The Covid testing system continues to expand and as the Winter approaches, it is vital to have proper testing capacity to make sure that people who have symptoms can get tested quickly.

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“The smart phone application is also playing an important part in the way we identify people who have the virus and who they may have been close to.

“Local people have taken extraordinary steps to combat the spread of the virus but we all know that as we spend more time indoors, the risks of contracting Covid-19 increase.

“I know local people will welcome this news and hope that is helps in the efforts to keep the prevalence of the virus low in rural Worcestershire.”

Residents will still need to book a slot, but the new facilities will allow more people to be tested quickly as the government continues to ramp up its testing capability.

This is in response to rising coronavirus infection rates. The rate in Worcestershire has doubled, with a total of 741 cases were recorded in Worcestershire in the seven days up to October 21, according to Public Health England, with the county’s infection rate rising to 124.4 per 100,000 people.

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It is understood the car park in Victoria Road has been identified as a possible location for the Malvern testing site, though no definite decision has been made at this time.

Malvern Hills District Council leader Cllr Sarah Rouse also welcomed the news, saying: “Malvern Hills District Council has been working hard to find a suitable site in Malvern so our residents have access to a local test centre.

"It is vital we work with public health on this. Increasing testing capacity is critical and we have done our very best to deliver this for our residents.

"It has been difficult to find a site in Malvern but on balance this car park appears to offer the most workable solution."