From MOTs to Covid-19: Belfast test centre switches focus

Time 9:27 am, April 8, 2020

A Belfast MOT centre has become a place to test healthcare workers for coronavirus.

Other vehicle testing centres in Northern Ireland will now be assessed for their suitability so that they can follow in the Boucher Road site’s footsteps.

Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said: ‘It is important that we all work together in the fight back against Covid-19. Keeping people safe is my number one priority and I will continue to do all I can within my department, freeing up any resources we have, to support the health minister and all our health trusts in the fight against this deadly virus.

‘Through use of our MOT centres, we are delighted to be able to support the health minister and play our part in helping to rapidly increase testing to help save lives.

‘Testing is a vital component in our effort to fight back against Covid-19.’

It emerged yesterday that another 97 new cases of Covid-19 had been detected in Northern Ireland, with three more patients dying with coronavirus and taking the total number of reported deaths there to 73.

The number of people tested for Covid-19 so far is 9,158.

A drive-through testing centre was set up at Belfast’s SSE Arena car park at the weekend so that healthcare workers could be tested for Covid-19.

Health minister Robin Swann said the ‘rapid expansion’ of testing for Covid-19 was a ‘key priority’.

Vehicle testing has been suspended during the initiative. HGVs, trailers and buses with an MoT will be given a three-month temporary exemption certificate (TEC), while all four-year-old cars will be given a TEC for six months from the date that their current MOT test certificate expires. Work is under way to address issues regarding taxis.

Earlier this year, MOT testing was suspended across all of Northern Ireland’s centres because of faults with lifts.

MORE: Warning issued as scammers exploit MOT test centres chaos

MORE: Minister says no firm date for when NI MOT test centres will be back to business as usual

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