The Government has said it is doing “everything possible” to prevent further problems at the coronavirus test centre in Southend’s town centre.

At the beginning of the week huge queues formed outside of the government-run centre on Short Street after many people believed they would be able to get a test without having an appointment.

Southend resident Rachelle Stone, 42, passed the centre and described it as “chaos” and warned many in the queue were not following basic safety measures such as wearing a mask or social distancing.

A spokesman for Department of Health and Social Care said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 200,000 a day on average over the last week – with the vast majority of people getting tested within 6 miles of their home.

“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge – including by bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot.

“As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”

The chaos at the centre came as Southend’s director of public health pleaded with the public to follow coronavirus safety measures, warning that cases are rising rapidly.

He added that the council is having discussions with the Government about the problems seen on Short Street.