FRONTLINE workers in high-risk jobs across Oldham - like taxi drivers, cleaners and shop workers - will be tested for coronavirus even if they have not displayed symptoms.

A new pilot scheme is set to be introduced in the borough - along with Bradford and Newham and Brent in London - over the next few weeks.

Health chiefs believe that people without symptoms can still spread coronavirus to others without being aware that they are infectious.

Oldham’s current testing site is in Southgate Street car park but other mobile testing units have been deployed across the borough, including a mobile testing unit at Rock Street car park.

Cllr Zahid Chauhan, the borough's health cabinet member, saidL "Oldham is proud to be leading the way nationally in offering testing to people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

“It follows on from our excellent testing record for health and care staff, throughout the pandemic and our work with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure everyone who needs to access testing is able to access testing locally.”

Katrina Stephens, Oldham's public health director, added: "We know that it still possible for someone to pass on Covid-19 infection before they develop symptoms, and that some people who have the virus will never develop symptoms.

"Testing people who do not have symptoms is therefore an important part of our local strategy for keeping our residents safe and preventing the spread of the virus.

“There has been a positive response from a number of businesses but we are keen to widen the offer to others and plans are being developed to ensure our testing facilities are well placed to provide easy access by staff.”

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the pilot study, which begins immediately, would improve understanding of the prevalence of the virus in asymptomatic people in higher-risk jobs.