A new COVID-19 testing centre for people without symptoms is set to open at Chester Cathedral in the heart of Chester city centre on Tuesday, 6 April, at 11am.

The new Chester Cathedral facility will be home to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s third asymptomatic testing centre in the borough.

The facility will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. It opens at 11am on Tuesday, 6 April, only.

The testing centres offer twice weekly on-site testing for people unable to work from home or people who care for family and friends, and take-home self-testing kits for people who share a household or bubble with a child at nursery, school or college or someone who works at one of those settings. The Chester Cathedral centre will support the many city centre businesses when the high street reopens, expected on 12 April.

One in three people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms so asymptomatic tests help to identify positive cases and prevent people from spreading the virus unknowingly.

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This is great news and ideally timed with the shops set to reopen on 12 April along with bars, cafés and restaurants offering outdoor hospitality. It is also great news for city centre residents.

“Thanks to Chester Cathedral for allowing us to us to use their wonderful building in our combined fight against this dreadful virus. The facility of course is open to all regardless of religion or belief.”

Dean of Chester, The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, said: “I am delighted that Chester Cathedral can serve its local community in this way during the pandemic.

“Opening this building to the NHS, Council staff and local people to help stop the spread of a deadly disease is a return to our core purpose and values.

“I hope that many people will rediscover Chester’s cathedral through the asymptomatic testing centre; that they are inspired by its inner beauty and will return once we fully reopen later this year.

“2020 was undoubtedly a challenging year for all, including the Cathedral and I hope this testing centre is a strong step towards our recovery.”

Other COVID-19 testing centres for people without symptoms are located at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, and Winsford Lifestyle Centre.

These two centres have provided more than 32,000 tests since the first site opened in December.

They are open between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. No appointment is necessary.

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, should self-isolate immediately and call: 119 or visit: nhs.uk/coronavirus to book a test.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 everyone is reminded to stay at home as much as possible, wash their hands or use hand sanitiser regularly, cover their face in enclosed spaces and maintain social distancing by keeping two metres away from people they do not live with.

For more information on COVID-19 tests visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk and click on COVID-19 testing.