A NEW coronavirus mobile testing unit is up and running in Boscombe today.

The facility is in the Hawkwood Road car park, behind the Sainsbury's store, and appears to have a steady stream of visitors.

It is due to operate between 10am and 3pm on scheduled days for the foreseeable future and can be accessed by car or on foot.

But don't just turn up - you can only get a test if you've made an appointment in advance.

The opening of the centre is a welcome move for people in the east of Bournemouth.

Until now residents had to travel to Creekmoor, which is only accessible by car, and to mobile testing sites at Weymouth, Bridport and Dorchester on a rotating basis.

A mobile testing site in Wallisdown was introduced last month as well as a local testing site at Lansdowne, which is walk-in only.

Another site is due to be set up at the Norden park and ride, near Corfe Castle.

Speaking when the new sites were announced, Rachel Partridge, assistant director of public health for Dorset and BCP Councils, said: “Identifying and isolating cases quickly is critical to controlling the spread of Covid-19. We have been working with partners to identify the best places for new sites to ensure Dorset residents can access testing when they need it.

“Anyone who develops any symptoms of Covid-19 – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change of taste or smell – should book a test online and self-isolate with everyone in their household or support bubble whilst they wait for the result.”

All tests must be booked in advance via gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test