SITES across Essex will begin to stop offering rapid tests for people as of next week.

Libraries across the county are becoming collection points for Covid-19 self-test kits.

More than 20 libraries already offer the service with 14 more library collection sites to be launched this week.

It means every district will have three sites where tests can be collected.

As a result sites which offered lateral flow, or rapid tests, will stop offering appointments and will not be open for walk-ins.

The tests were for people who did not have symptoms of Covid-19.

From next week these sites will stop offering the tests in a phased winding down.

Read more >>> The 21 Essex libraries offering Covid self-test kits

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council's director of public health, said: “We understand that not everyone has the means or time to visit a testing centre on a regular basis but testing really is vital in stopping the spread of the virus.

"That is why we have introduced self-testing collection points, making it easier than ever for residents to introduce testing into their weekly routine.

"We know that residents are eager to take part in self-testing and by setting up convenient collection points within local communities, we can ensure they have regular access to testing kits to complete twice a week.

“As restrictions ease and people start to meet up with others outdoors, the need for people who aren’t showing symptoms to take part in regular testing is more vital than ever.

“If regular testing is not something you have considered previously and you are not already accessing self-tests in another way, I urge you to pick up test kits from your nearest community collection point, complete them regularly and help to keep your friends and family safe.”

Here are the sites and the dates when tests will cease.

  • Colchester, Colchester leisure centre, Colchester Leisure World, Cowdray Ave, Colchester CO1 1YH – Monday April 19

• Uttlesford, Saffron Walden ECL, 39 Audley Rd, Saffron Walden CB11 3HD – Tuesday April 20

• Maldon, West Maldon Community Centre, Sunbury Way, Maldon CM9 6YH - Wednesday April 21

• Brentwood, Nightingale Centre, Pastoral Way Brentwood Essex CM14 5GB - Thursday April 22

• Chelmsford, Central Baptist Church, Victoria Rd S, Chelmsford CM1 1LN - Friday April 23

• Tendring, Long Meadows Community Centre, Long Meadows, Harwich CO12 4US - Monday April 26

• Braintree, Witham Town FC, Witham Town FC, Spa Rd, Witham, CM8 1UN - Tuesday April 27

• Harlow, Civic Centre, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, College Square, Harlow CM20 1WG - Wednesday April 28

• Epping Forest, Theydon Bois Village Hall, Coppice Row CM16 7ER - Thursday April 29

• Basildon, Towngate Theatre, St. Martins Square, Basildon SS14 1DL - Friday April 30

• Rochford, Rayleigh MegaCentre, 7 Brook Rd, Rayleigh SS6 7UT - Tuesday May 4

The library collection sites in Castle Point have been operational last week.

Targeted groups, including the households and bubbles of school-aged children and businesses with more than ten employees should continue to use the specific testing channels designed and already in place for them.

Any residents who are showing Covid-19 symptoms should continue to book a PCR Covid-19 test as normal.