A pilot Covid testing programme is making regular testing available to anyone within a community.

The rapid testing scheme has been launched at Stanborough Park Seventh day Adventist Church in Garston.

The programme is part of the Government's ongoing drive to increase the availability of testing and help stop the spread of Covid-19.

People will be able to visit the St Albans Road church on a regular basis and take a self-test to see if they are positive for coronavirus - with results back within 30 minutes.

Watford MP Dean Russell said: "I am pleased that Watford has been chosen for this important testing pilot. Regular testing plays a big part in helping us get back to normal as we enter the summer months.

"I am grateful to the Stanborough Park Seventh Day Adventist Church for their part in helping bring our whole community together across Watford."

The town's mayor, Peter Taylor, added: "It’s fantastic to have Watford’s Seventh Day Adventists Church proactively taking part in a pilot which will play a big role in helping to protect our community.

"Testing is an important tool to help combat the spread of the virus and it is a simple action we can all take in order to safeguard others.

"Our town has been incredibly united throughout this crisis, rallying to protect and support others, and this pilot is another great example of this."

A rapid testing centre is already in operation at Atria Watford but this new scheme at the church is a further boost to Watford's testing capacity.

Pastor Ian Sweeney, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland, said: "As a faith community, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is pleased to be a part of this initiative as it harmonises with our health and social principles.

"We have always believed and practised that prevention is better than cure and that we must love our neighbours.

"Through distributing of self-test kits, we are honoured to play our part in the protection and prevention of Covid transmission in our neighbourhoods."

A rise in cases towards the end of May has seen Watford's Covid rate become one of the highest in the south of England.

A map published on the Government's dashboard shows the majority of cases in the final week of May were identified in Leggatts ward (31 cases), which is where Cherry Tree Primary School - which has had a confirmed outbreak of coronavirus - is based.

Daily cases have dropped into single digits since May 28 but Hertfordshire County Council continues to urge caution to residents in Watford.

The council posted on its social media channels: "It's really important that we all self-isolate if told to, and remember 'hands, face, space & fresh air'.

"Rapid flow tests are available for twice-weekly testing and, when you are offered, please get both your first and second dose of the vaccine.

"If we all play our part, we can keep doing the things we love."