BUSINESSES in Blackburn with Darwen which remain open despite lockdown restrictions are being offered rapid SMART coronavirus tests.

The drive, being co-ordinated by the borough council, is aimed at detecting Covid-19 in staff who are not currently showing symptoms.

Firms are being encouraged to sign up to free testing to help protect their employees and stop the spread of Coronavirus, reducing the number of cases in the borough.

SMART testing is a non-invasive lateral flow test for individuals who are asymptomatic.

It is an easy test to do, involving a swab from the mouth and nose and the results are available in just 30 minutes as they don’t need to go to the lab. Blackburn with Darwen’s testing team provide on-site training and support as well as testing kits and necessary Personal Protective Equipment.

Clr Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Rapid workplace testing for those without symptoms is another vitally important step in us getting on top of this virus once and for all.

"So my message to businesses is this is a national call from government but locally there is a strong local offer with additional support they can use and so I would encourage more firms to come forward.

"Alarmingly, one in three people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms but are still infectious and so can pass on the virus without knowing it."

Businesses can sign up with Blackburn with Darwen Council online for the test and site visit will be arranged with a team member.