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Army called in to deliver 12,000 Covid test kits in Bolton
31 May 2021, 15:57
A new task force has been deployed to Bolton to deliver 12,000 Covid test kits in a door-to-door effort to suppress the virus, as the latest figures suggest the rise in cases is slowing in the town.
A group of 50 army personnel are working alongside 50 community volunteers to deliver the tests in Bolton, which still has the highest number of recorded infections of the Indian variant of concern.
However, the town is no-longer the Covid hotspot of the UK, with Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire replacing Bolton as the area with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases.
The resource intensive efforts in Bolton to surge test and ramp up vaccinations appear to be working, with weekly cases down 10 percent in the latest official figures.
There are currently 386.7 cases per 100,000 people in Bolton, compared to 390.1 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen.
Amazing support from local businesses...— Bolton Council (@boltoncouncil) May 31, 2021
... providing refreshments to teams dropping off & collecting COVID PCR test kits to people in Bolton.
If you are out when they visit simply pick up and drop off your test at the mobile testing unit listed here https://t.co/K6YtM4am07 pic.twitter.com/T179tCh8kK
Military medics have also been administering vaccines in the town, with the commanding officer of the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery describing the local teams as "superb".
Peter Griffith, who is leading the team supporting the testing effort, said initially some people were opposed to the army being involved.
"Initially there was certain amount of reticence, I think, about having uniforms on the street, but the calibre of the soldiers that have been provided to do this task is absolutely excellent," he told Sky News.
"Now they have actually blended in and they are really accepted by the community so they are working hand in hand with the local volunteers and the exercise is going really well."
Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the Covid vaccine programme in Bolton, said the rise in cases is slowing but that there is no room for complacency.
"I'm pleased to report that things are starting to slow in terms of the rise here in Covid cases, but we really can't rest on that," she explained.
"It's only been a few days of the rates slowing down so we really are keen to keep pushing forwards and get the rates down further."
HUGE thank you to 100+ staff, military and volunteers dropping off & collecting COVID PCR test kits in Farnworth, Plodder Lane and Great Lever .— Bolton Council (@boltoncouncil) May 31, 2021
Tests can also be dropped off at testing units inc Asda Farnworth & Bolton Science and Technology Centre. https://t.co/K6YtM4am07 pic.twitter.com/Ga8OHfR9S8
Meanwhile, Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, called on the residents of Bolton to take a test and take up the vaccine when offered it.
“The community response to surge testing has been outstanding so far, take-up has been strong and our teams have received a warm welcome," she said.
“Thank you to everyone for their hard work so far but there is still work to do."