Another mosque will be used as a coronavirus testing centre after a rise in cases in Burton.
Between July 4 and July 26 there have been 64 confirmed cases of the virus in the town, with the majority of these in Anglesey, Shobnall, Horninglow and Eton Park areas.
The Jamia Hanfia Ghausia Masjid mosque, in Princess Street will be using the next door Princess Street Resource Centre, which is part of the building as a testing facility – and the mosque aims to test up to 200 people per day.
The facility will be open on Thursday, July 30, and Tuesday, August 4, from 10am to 3pm. People do not need an appointment and can just walk-in off the street.
Shoukat Mahmood, chairman of the mosque, said: “It’s very important to offer this service to community of Burton and it’s very important to get tested.
“It’s a free walk-in system and people from all wards are invited, especially families.
“We are opening the doors to everyone and our message to the people of Burton is to keep themselves and the community safe.
“By being tested, if there are any who are positive at least they can isolate and avoid the risk of further spreading the disease.
“I urge all, especially key workers and taxi drivers to get tested as they are risking their lives and could potentially be endangering others.”
Paul Walker, labour councillor for the Shobnall Ward, said: “The service is vitally important and we have worked very hard behind the scenes to get a testing facility in our ward.
“People are familiar with the area and will trust the facility, especially those who are from the Muslim faith.
“The more people get tested the better, this will allow us to tackle the current situation effectively and enable us to work towards helping the town recover from the issue we are facing.”
The move comes after the Uxbridge Street Mosque was used as a mobile testing centre last week, with more than 300 people attending.
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s Director of Health and Care, said: “We had an overwhelming response to the testing sessions last week, and with the number of cases in Burton still relatively high, we want to make sure we have as much information as possible so we can manage any outbreaks effectively.
“While we know how many people are testing positive, we don’t know of course how many people may have the virus without displaying any symptoms.
“I would encourage anyone who can to support this pilot by going along and getting tested.
“We’re incredibly thankful to all of the mosques across town for pulling together and supporting our efforts to beat Covid-19.
“Princess St Mosque has turned this around in a very short space of time, and I am extremely grateful to them for helping us with this scheme.”