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Cllr Sean Donnelly and Cllr Graham Morgan at the Covid-19 testing centre in Knowsley

Army praises Knowsley’s speed of response

by Guy Murphy

As SMART testing continues to be rolled out across Knowsley, the military have paid tribute to the Council for their efforts to get the programme up and running so swiftly.

The roll out of SMART testing across the Liverpool City Region was only officially announced on Monday morning. Since then, the Council with the support of the military have opened three testing sites and are currently setting up a number of additional ‘mini’ sites in other locations in the borough. The Council has also launched a major recruitment drive and started a staff training programme to prepare for when the army leaves the area on Friday this week.

The Council has prioritised the programme to ensure all its residents have easy access to regular testing as a key part of the borough’s continuing efforts to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Lt Col Karen Peek MBE RA is the commanding officer of the military support team assisting in the set-up of SMART testing, she said:

“The speed of response of Knowsley Council has been outstanding. It has been a delight for the military to work alongside such a proactive Council. Their planning, preparation and delivery of this testing programme has been a pleasure to observe and to work alongside.”

From Tuesday this week testing centres have been open at Volair Leisure Centres in Huyton, Kirkby and Halewood and already over 1000 people have been along to get tested. There is no need to book in advance and the process is quick and easy with results usually available in 30 minutes.

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council commented:

“Throughout this pandemic I have been continually impressed by the resilience and flexibility of our Council workforce. Time and time again officers have stepped up to major challenges, worked round the clock – sometimes delivering work not in any way related to their usual day job.

Whatever the community has needed they have provided and the roll out of SMART testing shows clearly the commitment and competence of our workforce. I am incredibly thankful and proud of what they have achieved.

We have been working really closely with the army on the testing roll out so to have such positive feedback from them is really encouraging. I would like to thank them too for their support which has been so much appreciated.”

Testing centres are open Monday – Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. There is no need to book and the Council is urging all residents to get tested.