ARMY units are still helping with Herefordshire's fight against coronavirus as they run the county's mobile testing unit.

As well as the unit at Hereford's Merton Meadow car park, several other of the temporary centres have been put in place across the West Midlands – which can be set up in just 20 minutes.

From April 1 until July 31, soldiers have delivered 86,000 self-administered tests at the mobile testing units (MTUs) across the region, as well as 4,000 tests in support of the regional care response, such as delivering test kits to care homes.

The soldiers, split into three Covid support forces made up of 360 troops in total, have been managing MTUs and dropping off and collecting testing kits to care homes on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Troops set up fully functioning test centres, designed in partnership with British Army engineers, in less than 20 minutes, with each unit possessing the ability to test hundreds of people per day.

Brigadier AJ Smith, the joint military commander in the West Midlands, said: “The flexibility of the Armed Forces is second to none, and it has been fantastic to be able to play a key part in providing mobile testing to so many in the community.

“We remain ready to provide support as required.”

The unit in Hereford was set up in the main Merton Meadow car park on April 26, before moving to the overflow section.

The soldiers for the region's units have been drawn from Regiments across the UK, including Stafford-based 1 Signal Regiment, 16 Signal Regiment and 22 Signal Regiment; Redditch-based 37 Signal Regiment; Wiltshire-based 26 Regiment Royal Artillery (RA), 32 Regiment RA, 47 Regiment RA and 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps as well as reservists from three Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons.

The soldiers deployed to the West Midlands have been part of Operation Rescript, the name of the military’s contribution to the cross-government fight against the pandemic.

People arriving at the mobile testing units, who have pre-booked tests online, do not need to leave their cars to be tested.

They are first welcomed by soldiers who explain how the test will be carried out.

The troops, wearing personal protective equipment, pass test kits to the drivers who then park their car to take the test, involving a nose and throat swab, before driving onto another station where they hand over their test.

The soldiers store the samples in refrigerated cool boxes in a specially kitted out van before they are taken to a laboratory. Results are returned in one to two days.

Across the UK, soldiers have helped carry out 500,000 coronavirus tests.

People with Covid-19 symptoms should go online and book a test – it isn’t painful and there is plenty of capacity to meet needs. Anyone in England is eligible.

If the result is positive you will hear from NHS Test and Trace who will explain what steps you need to take.