THE county's Covid-19 testing sites will remain open every day over Christmas and the New Year, health officials have confirmed.

Experts say if any resident develops coronavirus symptoms, such as a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change of taste or smell, they must book a test.

Rachel Partridge, assistant director of public health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole said: “Even though it is Christmas time and we all want to relax and enjoy, unfortunately we do still need to remain alert to the threat of Covid-19 and be vigilant to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

“For example, if you do develop Covid-19 symptoms, you must book a test and self-isolate with anyone in your household or support bubble whilst waiting for the result.

"Our testing sites will be working and available over the festive season.

"Obviously this would not be great timing and may interrupt your Christmas plans which is upsetting, but everyone needs to do their bit to help to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Dorset.”

The following sites will be available to residents dependent on capacity:

• Wallisdown, Bournemouth

• Lansdowne, Bournemouth

• Hawkwood Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth

• Creekmoor, Poole

• Dolphin Swimming Pool Car Park, Poole

• Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Christchurch

• Purbeck Park

• Bridport

• Dorchester

• Swannery Car Park, Weymouth

The Wallisdown testing site will be out of use during January to help students return back to Bournemouth University safely.

BCP Council public health cabinet member Cllr Nicola Greene said: "I’m really pleased that all our local testing sites will remain open over the festive period.

"Although we're all hoping for a happy, healthy Christmas, it’s reassuring to know that local residents can access testing quickly and easily should they need it.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council’s health portfolio holder, said: “No-one wants to fall ill over Christmas, especially with Covid-19 but we are still living with this virus.

"It is great news that all sites remain open over the Christmas and New Year period so everyone has access to testing.

Visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119 to book a Covid-19 test.