A DRIVE-THROUGH coronavirus testing facility is to open at the Taunton Racecourse, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 to find out if they currently have coronavirus.

Taunton Racecourse is one of several new testing sites being added to the existing network in the UK.

Testing will start tomorrow (Saturday, June 6) at the new site, with more appointments available each day.

To increase testing for everyone with symptoms across the country, the Government has more than doubled the capacity of the NHS/PHE laboratory network, set up 57 regional test centres and 116 mobile testing units, and introduced home testing kits.

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts.

This should help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Health minister Lord Bethell said: “The Government continues to rapidly scale up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.

“This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.

“Anyone experience symptoms of coronavirus should stay at home and book a test.”

A spokesman for Taunton Racecourse added: “Taunton Racecourse wants to play it’s part in the effort to support the NHS and local community in the fight against coronavirus by making available its resources.

“We shall be working with the authorities to make this public service run smoothly.”

Dr Julie Yates, Public Health England South West said timely access to testing was a vital part of the new NHS Test and Trace arrangements.

She said: "This new testing service will ensure that Somerset residents have another option for accessing testing within the county and this will help in the continuing efforts to control the spread of this virus.

“It is important that anyone who has symptoms gets a test as soon as possible and that they follow the advice on self-isolation while waiting for their results.”

Colleagues from Boots in Taunton have already stepped forward to volunteer to run the Covid-19 testing station.