With the new Omicron variant spreading rapidly, residents are being urged to take extra care and get a rapid Covid-19 test before meeting more vulnerable people or if they mix with others in crowded indoor places this Christmas.

Rapid testing, for people without symptoms of Covid-19, is free and can identify cases of the virus among people who don't realise they have it. They can then take action to prevent passing Covid-19 onto others.

The Government says people should take a rapid test on days when they are more likely to come into contact with, or spread, Covid-19, such as when they are in crowded places or visiting someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19, including older people or those with underlying health conditions.

Meanwhile, from today (Tuesday) double jabbed contacts of people with Covid-19 can now take a daily rapid test, rather than having to self isolate. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, no matter how mild, must self isolate and book a PCR test as was previously the case.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "About 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

"Rapid tests help to check if someone has Covid-19, and if they test positive and self isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

"Remember that, even if you're vaccinated, you could still catch the virus or pass it on. Doing rapid tests helps to protect yourself and others."

Supervised rapid tests are available at the walk in test facilities at the Civic Centre (Mondays and Thursdays, 8am to 6pm and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 8am to 5pm), the Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road (10am to 7pm, daily) and at participating pharmacies across the city.

Meanwhile, home test kits are available from locations across Wolverhampton, including a new pick up point at Wednesfield Market which is open on normal market days from 8.45am to 4.15pm. 

Please note that some home test collection sites are currently closed due to stock shortages. It is hoped they will be resupplied by the end of the week but, at the present time, people are strongly advised to attend a walk in centre for a test, or order a home test kit through the pharmacy collect service via NHS

For more details of rapid testing, please visit Coronavirus Testing.

Latest figures show there were 393 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 1,034 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.