A NEW 'walk in' Covid-19 test centre is now open in Bradford city centre.

The facility - the first its kind in the district, is based in Centenary Square next to City Hall.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

It allows people who have symptoms of Covid-19, but don't have access to a car, to get tested, either by booking tests or by dropping in.

Details of the centre were first announced at a meeting of Bradford Council's Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee last week.

Members were told that as well as creating a facility that will be easy for many people to access, the central location will also act as a very visible "reminder" that the virus is still in Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

There appeared to be a steady stream of people using the centre as it opened this afternoon.

Jerome Hamilton, 27, said: "I think it's about time and I think maybe it's going to help a lot of people get tested much more often.

"It looks kind of scary, it seems like Bradford is getting quite serious."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

When asked about the potential of the city going back into lockdown, he added: "I don't know how that's going to go down, because we're just coming out of lockdown , so it's going to be quite difficult for us to go back in.

"I really don't know how that's going to play out."

Jonathan Simcock, 36, said he thought it was a good idea.

"We know where it's spiking, where it's not spiking, we know how to respond - to lockdown a city or not lockdown a city. I think Covid is scary if you don't do anything about it.

"If it spikes in Bradford, if it spikes anywhere in the country, then it needs to be locked down and it needs to be contained and we need to go back into a heavy lockdown."

Mr Simcock said he hoped the centre would act as a reminder for people.

He added: "It's not over, we're a long way from it being over.

"We're stiill dealing with a pandemic."

Reece Delaney, 27, and his partner Natalie Kirejeva, 30, said they wanted to get tested as they have children.

He said: "It's a bit scary going in there, it's like something from a movie."

But, he added: "I think it's a very good thing to be honest.

"We've got children - it's been on my mind, I want to know. I think people should get tested so they can do something about it."

Andy Wharton, manger of The In Plaice, Sunbridge Road, added: "I think it's a good thing, obviously with what's happened to Leicester, we don't want that happening in Bradford."

But one woman in the city centre, who did not want to be named, said: "I just think it's in a too public, central place.

"When people are encouraged not to use public transport, to stay at home, not everybody drives, so people have got to come into the city centre to access the testing centre. 

"My concern is are people worried that they may be exhibiting some symptoms, so they're going there to be re-assured - what about the social distancing and fear of infection?

"I think it'll lull people into a sense of false security really."

The centre is available for anyone in Bradford district who has symptoms of Covid-19, such as a high temperature, a new cough, or a change in sense of taste or smell.

Strict infection control measures will be in place to ensure the new community testing centre is operated with the highest levels of public health safeguards.

People who have symptoms of Covid-19 are not allowed to use public transport so those attending the centre will have to make their own way there. 

A face covering will need to be worn, and social distancing must also be followed at all times, when at the site and while travelling to and from it.

The walk-in centre will be used for both pre-booked appointments, as well as a limited number of drop-in tests. Results should be made available within 24-72 hours.

A mix of walk-in and pre-booked tests will be available this week from 2pm-5pm today and 10am-5pm on Thursday. From Friday, it will become fully operational from 8am-8pm seven-days-a-week. For those booking tests, this can be done by either calling 119 or online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.