A MASS Covid-19 testing scheme has been approved by the government and is set to launch at 11 Hampshire sites this week.

The six-week scheme is aimed at those without symptoms who are regularly leaving home to go to work and who are not covered by a workplace testing scheme.

A total of 11 community testing sites will become operational including sites in Fareham, Eastleigh, New Forest, Test Valley and Winchester.

The County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, Cllr Judith Grajewski branded the scheme a "hugely positive and important development in our response to the pandemic".

She added: "Around one in three people with COVID-19 display no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.

"Community testing will help prevent transmission and break chains of infection, by identifying more cases quickly and ensuring that people are supported to self-isolate.

"Our teams at leisure centres, libraries and community centres have been working tirelessly to prepare their sites ready for the start of testing from this week, and I would urge everyone who has to leave home for work to come forward for regular testing to protect themselves, their loved ones and our communities."

"Stringent" infection control measures are said to be in place at all sites with a "carefully designed" layout, social distancing throughout and trained staff in attendance.

People who are working from home or shielding should not attend a community testing site.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste - should book a test online or call 119.

Below is a list of the 11 new appointment-only community testing sites across the county.

• Basingstoke & Deane – former South Ham Library

• East Hants – Alton Sports Centre

• Eastleigh – The Point

Fareham – Fareham College

• Gosport – Thorngate Hall Community Centre

• Hart – Hart District Council Offices

• Havant – Havant Library

• New Forest – Totton Health & Leisure Centre

• Rushmoor – Farnborough Leisure Centre

• Test Valley – Picket Twenty Sports Ground

• Winchester – Winchester Discovery Centre

Residents can check their district council website for launch dates and opening hours.