RESIDENTS in Southend are being urged to take twice weekly tests at home... even if you're fully vaccinated.

It comes as the council's community testing programme is set to close its two remaining rapid lateral flow assisted swabbing sites as it moves towards encouraging at home testing.

Belfairs Methodist Church will close on May 22 and Twenty One, which is located on Pier Approach, will close on May 29.

Rapid Covid self-test kits are being offered to everone living and working in Southend under the community collect initiative to support the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Self test kits are available from over 45 locations including pharmacies and the following libraries: Shoebury library Southchurch library The Forum Westcliff library Kent Elms library Leigh library.

Read more:

Krishna Ramkhelawon, Southend’s director of public health, said: “Regular testing and reporting of your results is important because it helps to reduce infection rates across the Borough, protects those at higher risk of infection and prevents and reduces the spread of the virus.

"Please be mindful that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and others. Some people are more vulnerable to Covid than others.

"As well as regular testing, continue to exercise caution and please continue to remember the hands, face, space, fresh air approach.”

Two packs of home test kits can be collected now, with each pack containing seven tests.

Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care said: "With mass home testing now readily available across the Borough, we have seen a reduction in the use of our LFD sites and the closure of two sites already, and now is the right time to close all sites and focus efforts and resources on our community collect programme.

"Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still be infectious. I urge everyone to get tested twice a week using a home test kit which can be collected free from pharmacies and libraries across the Borough.

“To maximise accessibility and use of testing we will continue and build upon work that we are doing with homeless people, Citizens Advice Bureau, Sexual Health services, and with Southend Mosques.”