With lockdown restrictions easing and groups of up to six people from different household now being allowed to meet up, health bosses are urging residents to have regular Covid-19 tests to prevent the spread of the disease.

Two households can now get together and meet ups are permitted outdoors in parks and gardens with outdoor sports venues opening their doors and organised sporting activities being given the green light once more.

However, one in three people with Coronavirus do not have symptoms and regular testing is crucial in stopping the spread of the virus and keeping infection levels under control.

Anyone in Halton can pick up a Covid-19 home testing kit through the community collect testing service with no need to order in advance or book an appointment.

A pop-up testing team is set up at St Ambrose Church between 10am and 3pm every Monday and at Norton Priory between 1pm and 6pm every Tuesday.

Tests can be done onsite, with results being processed by staff, or you can take the packs home to test yourself and your family.

Community test sites are still open at Grangeway Community Centre and Ditton Community Centre between 8.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday and from 10am until 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with test results being sent via text or email.

You can also order home test kits to be delivered by visiting https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests Halton’s director of public health, Eileen O’Meara believes this type of no-symptoms testing is a vital tool in supporting the borough out of restrictions.

She said: “Over the coming weeks, as we take cautious steps out of lockdown and begin to move around more, coming into contact with more people, these type of rapid no-symptoms test will be vital in keeping our local infection rates under control.

“We hope that by making it as easy as possible to get tested that people will make getting a weekly test part of their regular routine.

“Vaccinations are rolling out at pace, which is great news, but until all of our adult population has been offered the vaccine, we must find ways to keep the virus in check.

“Testing is one important way we can do this, alongside continuing to follow good hand hygiene, wearing face coverings, making space and only meeting people outdoors.”

No-symptom testing uses lateral flow tests, which involves taking a swab sample using a long cotton bud wiped at the back of the throat and up the nose, which is quick to do and painless and results are ready quickly - in around 30 minutes.

Anyone with main Covid-19 symptoms - persistent cough, temperature, loss of smell or taste - must self-isolate and book a test at one Halton’s NHS test sites at Kingsway in Widnes, behind St Paul’s Health Centre in Runcorn or at The Heath in Runcorn.

You can book a test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.