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MoT centre becomes coronavirus testing station

The Boucher Road facility will now test healthcare workers by appointment

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A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

An MoT centre in Belfast has been transformed into a coronavirus testing facility.

It follows the setting-up of a drive-through testing centre at the city’s SSE Arena car park at the weekend to allow health care workers to be tested for Covid-19.

Now the Boucher Road vehicle testing centre will also be used, with other vehicle testing centres to be assessed for their suitability.

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A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 7, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Justin Kernoghan/PA Wire

A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 7, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Justin Kernoghan/PA Wire

PA

A MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 7, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Justin Kernoghan/PA Wire

Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said she is delighted that her department can play its part in the fight against Covid-19.

“It is important that we all work together in the fightback against Covid-19. Keeping people safe is my number one priority and I will continue to do all I can within my department, freeing up any resources we have, to support the health minister and all our health trusts in the fight against this deadly virus,” she said.

“Through use of our MoT centres, we are delighted to be able to support the health minister and play our part in helping to rapidly increase testing to help save lives.

“Testing is a vital component in our effort to fight back against Covid-19.”

On Tuesday, it emerged that another 97 new cases of Covid-19 had been detected, with a further three patients dying with coronavirus, bringing the total number of reported deaths in Northern Ireland to 73.

The number of individuals tested for Covid-19 is 9,158.

The Public Health Agency gave the total number of confirmed cases in the region as 1,255.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Health minister Robin Swann said the “rapid expansion” of testing is a “key priority” for his department.

“We know that many members of the healthcare workforce who are currently undertaking home isolation are keen to return to work as soon as possible to support colleagues at this critical time,” he said.

“I understand that it has been a frustrating and worrying time for those staff who have displayed symptoms of Covid-19, or those whose family members have symptoms.

“The rapid expansion of testing capacity has been a key priority and we have been working with the Public Health Agency and HSC Trust colleagues to significantly increase the number of healthcare workers who can access testing for Covid-19.”

Vehicle testing has been suspended during the initiative.

The department for communities said all HGVs, trailers and buses with an MoT will be issued with a three-month Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC).

All four-year-old cars will be given a TEC for six months, from the date that their MOT test should have been due.

Meanwhile work is under way to addresses issues in relation to taxis.

PA