The mass testing programme is well underway at the Civic Centre in Wolverhampton – and is already identifying cases of Covid-19 among people who didn't realise they had the virus.

Nearly 800 people without symptoms of coronavirus have had a free test since mass testing was first made available to the public on Monday, with a small number returning a positive result.

As a result, they are now self isolating so that they don't pass Covid-19 onto friends, family or work colleagues.

Mass testing is available at the Civic Centre between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. No appointment is necessary, and all are welcome. The process is rapid – people will receive their results inside the hour. Free short stay parking is available at St Peter's Car Park off Wulfruna Street for people attending the Civic Centre for a test.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Mass testing is really important; we know that as many as 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms of it, but that does not mean they are not infectious.

"If we can find these cases, those who are infected – but don't know it – will be able to self isolate which will in turn help break the chain of transmission at an early stage and reduce the spread of the virus.

"I'd encourage people without symptoms of Covid-19 to come down to the Civic Centre and get tested. It's quick and easy and, while the likelihood is you won't have Covid-19, if it turns out you do, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your loved ones and the wider community."

Council leader Councillor Ian Brookfield added: "If we can get the infection rate down, we will not only cut the number of people catching Covid-19 but also increase the chances of Wolverhampton being able to move down out of the Tier 3 restrictions we’re currently subject to more quickly, which would be a win-win for everyone.

"I want as many people as possible to take part in the mass testing programme because if we can identify more people who haven't got symptoms but do have Covid-19, it helps them and it helps the rest of us, too."

Please note, only people without Covid-19 symptoms should attend the Civic Centre. Anyone with symptoms – a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to their sense of taste or smell – must self isolate and book a test at one of the regular Covid-19 test centres in Wolverhampton via GOV.UK or by calling 119 as normal.

Latest data shows there were 240.38 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 6 December. That means 632 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert