A drive-through coronavirus testing site will be set up in Blackburn from Saturday morning in response to a jump in the rate of new cases.

Testing will take place in the car park at Witton Park Academy between 11am and 6.30pm every day for the next seven days.

People will be expected to carry out their own swabs, which will then be handed to staff to store safely and send for processing.

Locals wanting a test will not need to book an appointment and it is free and open to all ages.

Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health, said: “This temporary testing site is open to those in this area of Blackburn and also the wider borough for those who feel they need a test.

"Sites like this allow people to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to quarantine with their household or seek treatment if needed.

"Whilst we haven’t had the level of outbreak seen in Leicester and other areas, we are aware of our raised rate of confirmed cases according to recent data.

"We are therefore introducing a range of measures to mitigate risks in a proportionate and phased way – and the mobile testing unit is one of them.

"We have also published our outbreak management plan, are stepping up our local prevention work week-on-week with vulnerable settings and are strengthening our communications with key groups.

"We are working closely with the local NHS to make Pennine Lancashire second wave ready and are making plans to increase the availability of local testing for higher risk groups.

"Above all else, we need to work together to keep Blackburn with Darwen a Covid–safe borough. It’s up to us all to stick by the rules and protect each other."

Two areas of Lancashire are in the top ten for having the highest coronavirus infection rates, according to Public Health England data released on Friday.

The list of the weekly rate of new cases of Covid-19 for every local authority in England ranks Blackburn with Darwen as 4th and Pendle as 7th.

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Councillor Mohammed Khan, said: “We are grateful to the majority of residents who have strictly adhered to the government’s guidance around staying at home as much as possible, and being sensible when they do need to go out.

“No one in Blackburn with Darwen wants to find ourselves in a situation like in Leicester. Please continue to do your bit to stick to the rules to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Blackburn with Darwen's rate of new cases in the seven days to 6 July is 33.6 per 100,000 people, compared to 23.5 for the previous seven days, while Pendle's figures are 25.2 and 17.5 respectively.

In addition, community leaders issued a reminder on Friday evening about the importance of sticking to the government’s rules – or risk facing a situation such as in Leicester.

Although lockdown is being eased nationally, they said it is vital that everyone in the borough continues to adhere to guidelines and maintains good hygiene when outside of their homes.