COUNCIL officials have moved to reassure the public after concerns about 'wasted' coronavirus tests.

This comes after a member of the public said that PCR testing kits were being not being used properly despite Blackburn with Darwen Council's programme aimed at delivering them to the public.

The person, who does not wish to be named, says that only a small proportion of the tests which were handed out to track the Delta variant of the virus have been returned.

He said: "Residents are oblivious, disinterested and refusing to support the effort and the council continue to plough money into the campaign which is failing.

"Staff undertaking the activity have seen residents throwing kits into the bin."

The concerns were raised amid persistently high rates of infections in the borough, which remain amongst the highest in England.

However, the authority has said that, though they do not force people to take PCR tests, officials are on hand to provide advice and support residents and that it has succeeded in providing thousands of tests.

Blackburn with Darwen director of adults and health Sayyed Osman said: “Since our surge testing programme began around three weeks ago, we have provided over 18,000 PCR test kits to residents in target areas of Blackburn.

“Residents can collect kits themselves from our five collect and return hubs, and for the last 12 days or so we’ve also been knocking on doors and delivering kits to homes.

“Our engagement teams have the right skill set to have conversations with residents about why surge testing is important when they knock on doors."

He added: "Often, it takes a few days for them to return all the kits, it makes sense for them to wait until everyone in the household has taken their test, before returning them all together.

“Residents are returning their kits by bringing them to our collect and return hubs or by handing them back to engagement teams."

The council has also said that it had further plans in store to tackle infections.

Mr Osman said: “This week we have changed the way our teams call back to homes to collect PCR tests, and already we have seen a significant increase in the volume of completed test kits being returned – which is very encouraging.

“From this weekend, we will also have the National Surge Rapid Response Team joining us to support door-to-door engagement.

"This team brings with them experience of working on surge testing in Bolton and we expect this to encourage more residents to return completed tests.

“Surge testing in Blackburn has already been successful in identifying asymptomatic cases of Covid, including the Delta variant of concern.

"We have been able to support these residents to self-isolate, and this has had an impact of breaking chains of transmission and preventing further people from becoming ill with Covid.”

The council has said that people seeking more information about testing should go to: