A new fast testing centre for people without Covid symptoms is opening in Witham today.

It will offer Lateral Flow Tests in a bid to drive down the infection rate in the district.

This centre has been established in response to the current infection rate in the district which has reached 721.5 per 100,000 people.

Here is what you need to know.

When and where is it opening?

The centre opened today (Monday, January 18) at Witham Town Football Club on Spa Road, Witham.

The site is the latest testing centre to open in Essex.

These centres are among the first of their kind in the region, offering Lateral Flow Tests to the wider population.

Who can have a test?

The tests are only for people who do not have symptoms and give results in around 30 minutes.

Tests are by appointment only and bookings should be made online where possible.

Anyone booking should live in the Braintree District.

This is not a testing centre for people who have symptoms.

How can I book a test?

Tests can be booked online here https://www.essex.gov.uk/getting-tested-for-covid-19/if-you-dont-have-symptoms.

Residents can also book by calling 0333 772 6144 to arrange an appointment.

Lines are open from 8am to 8pm every day, including Saturday and Sunday.

You can also email booking.confirmation@nhs.net and a member of staff will contact them to arrange an appointment.

Why has it been opened?

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Infection rates in Braintree are significant and local health services there and across the county are currently under strain as a result of the new variant of Covid-19. A ‘critical incident’ had been declared across Essex with critical care and bed capacity rising as well as high staff sickness and self-isolation levels.

“This additional testing centre will allow us to test even more people where we continue to see worryingly high rates.

"Thousands of people have already been tested at the fast testing centres we have opened."