A pop up Covid-19 testing facility for essential workers and their family members has been launched in Barnstaple.

The mobile unit was set up in the North Devon Leisure Centre car park in Seven Brethren on Thursday (April 30) and is expected to be open until around 4pm, although times are subject to change.

If demand is high, it could be set up again on Friday, May 1.

The facility is by appointment only, and is being managed by the Ministry of Defence, with as many as 12 military staff on site.

People eligible for testing are:

– All government-identified essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms – Anyone over 65 with symptoms

– Anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)

– Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above

– Social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms)

Those eligible can book in for a test through the Government portal.

The station is a drive-through facility, and those with appointments are asked to come by car and keep their windows up.

It is a self-testing centre, with no medical practitioners on site to carry out the test.

North Devon Council has been working with the national testing programme to secure the test facility.

Council leader, Councillor David Worden, said: “I am delighted that our essential workers in the North Devon area now have this easily accessible and essential testing service in Barnstaple.

“We have been working extremely hard over the last few weeks with partners to secure this facility which I believe will play a critical role in our recovery.

“We appreciate the efforts being made to tackle this virus and ask you continue to follow the government guidance.”