People who live, work or study in parts of Blackburn where Covid cases are rising are strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not, to help track the spread of the latest variant of concern.

Those in areas with BB1 and BB2 postcodes are asked to come forward and take a test as the borough has now taken the top spot in the national table of areas with the most Covid cases.

Blackburn with Darwen Council say this is due, in part, to the latest variant of concern, the variant first identified in India which is now known as VOC-21APR-02.

The council and NHS are now calling for everyone without coronavirus symptoms in the targeted area to take a PCR test kit, which can be analysed in a laboratory to help track the spread of the virus variant.

Surge testing engagement teams from the council are also knocking on doors in some areas of Blackburn to hand out PCR test kits and encourage residents to take tests at home. Staff then call back later the same day to collect completed tests.

Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen, Prof Dominic Harrison, said: "We’ve been monitoring the situation very closely since the latest variant of concern was found to be present in the North West.

"We think that Blackburn with Darwen is around seven to ten days behind Bolton in terms of rising rates, so it’s encouraging to see their infection rate starting to decline.

"With all of the engagement work and surge testing that we are doing in the areas of Blackburn where we first identified cases of the variant of concern, we are hopeful that in the next week or so, we can take control of our case rates too.

"We know that this variant is around 30-50 per cent more transmissible than the previous UK variant.

"Over 90 per cent of new Covid cases in Blackburn with Darwen are now likely to be the VOC-21APR-02 variant.

"Asymptomatic testing will help us to control transmission further.

"Additional mobile testing sites are available to anyone without symptoms who lives, works or goes to school or college in BB1 and BB2 postcode areas to get tested.

"The more we test, the quicker we can tackle any outbreaks, support people to self-isolate and bring the figures down.

"If anyone needs help taking a test, medically trained staff are on hand at these mobile testing units."

Residents can get a PCR test at one of five new mobile testing sites in Blackburn:

  • Ewood Park (outside the Darwen End) – open 7 days from 10am to 5pm, until Sunday June 13
  • Bangor Street Community Centre car park – open 7 days from 12pm to 6pm, until Sunday June 13
  • Corporation Park gatehouse – open 7 days from 10am to 3pm, until Sunday June 13
  • Charlotte Street car park – open 7 days from 12pm to 6pm, until Sunday June 13
  • Pleasington playing fields – open weekdays during June from 10am to 3pm

The mobile testing units are for people without symptoms to get PCR tests.

Appointments are not needed – all these sites are walk-up centres.

Please remember to wear a face covering when you attend for a test and maintain social distancing.

People with Covid symptoms should not go to theses mobile testing sites. Instead they should use the testing facilities at Royal Blackburn Hospital, on the Blackburn College car park and on Railway Road car park in Darwen.

The council continues to encourage all residents to also regularly take rapid lateral flow tests, to ‘Test & Go’ before meeting up with friends, visiting relatives, going shopping and so on. This includes residents who live in the BB1 and BB2 postcode areas.

Find out more about coronavirus testing in Blackburn with Darwen at