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Huge queues in Formby to get tested and vaccines for over 20’s in Sefton due to Indian Variant

Huge queues at Deansgate Lane in Formby today as people wait to get their free Covid tests which are being offered to anyone in the area as a result of a huge surge in cases of the Indian variant of Coronavirus in the area.

People aged 20 and over are also now being offered their coronavirus vaccines in Sefton as fears concerning the Indian variant of the virus grows.

The vaccination centre in Ainsdale will be taking walk-in vaccinations from 3pm today, Friday 14th May. It is behind Hirshmans Chemist on Station Road in Ainsdale.

The vaccination centre will be offering the Pfizer vaccine on a first come, first served basis to anyone over the age of 20 years old.

People have been asked not to arrive any earlier than 3pm and to ensure they bring waterproofs for what could be long queues.

This comes as the area has seen a surge in positive tests in the last week, and Sefton Council confirming the presence of the Indian variant of Coronavirus.

Some parts of Formby have seen the number of positive cases rise by five times in a week.

Surge testing has been introduced into the area. There are two drive through surge testing centres in the area. Deansgate Lane Park, L37 3LF, and Ainsdale Hope on Sandringham Road, PR8 2PJ.

There is also a walk-in centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre on Park Lane, L37 6EW.

Appointments are not needed and residents in the area are urged to show up and get a test.

The surge is centred on Formby is where a pub and a leisure centre have already been forced to close because of outbreaks, with two schools also having to send classes home to isolate.

The situation in Formby is a reminder that despite the progress made in fighting the virus, it doesn't take long for it to return and spread quickly.

Sefton MP Bill Esterson said: “Local coronavirus testing is being introduced in Formby in response to recent COVID-19 outbreaks, which showed cases of the variant first identified in India.”

“The Government advises that everyone over the age of 16 who lives, works or studies in Formby should take a COVID-19 PCR test.”

“Starting from today (Friday), mobile, drive-through test centres will be set up at Deansgate Lane Park in Formby (L37 3LF) and at Ainsdale Hope on Sandringham Road (PR8 2PJ), and there will be a walk-through test centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre (PDC) on Park Lane (L37 6EW).”

“The Deansgate drive-through test centre will be open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and the PDC on Park Lane will be open between 9am and 4pm seven days a week.”

“The test centre at Ainsdale will be open from 9am until 4pm on Friday 14th May, but from Saturday 15th May will be open 9am to 8pm seven days a week.”

“Appointments are not needed for tests at any of these centres.”

“Sefton Council’s Public Health team are also finalising locations for smaller, pop-up test sites in the community.”

“I have raised with Ministers the lack of support for people who are isolating with Covid-19. Only a fraction of those who lose income due to isolation are eligible for the £500 payment. This is a barrier to testing and the government should increase the financial support that is offered to help contain outbreaks such as these.”

“Sefton's director of public health told me that the Indian variant is not thought to affect people more seriously, inhibit the effectiveness of the vaccines, or to be more infectious than the dominant Kent variant. However, identifying cases is important so that infections can be identified, traced and contained before they spread any further. Testing and contact tracing will support the return to the more normal life that we all want to see.”

“Please continue to follow the public health advice on hygiene and distancing, get tested and have your vaccination when it is offered.”

“And yes I agree that we should be offered surge vaccinations for all over 18s in Formby alongside surge testing. I am pressing the government on this point.”

“For the surge testing in Formby to be most effective, the government must fund Sefton Council properly, reverse the Conservative cuts to public health and social care in particular, fund isolation payments so people can afford to be off work and support businesses and self employed people. That's what is needed if ministers are really serious about dealing with new variants. And they must end the nonsense of not having a full quarantine system for travellers to reduce the spread of new variants.”

“Please have a test and follow the guidance and support the work being done by our outstanding Sefton Council Public Health staff and volunteers.”



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