A Covid-19 testing bus is launching this week offering supervised lateral flow tests for people without symptoms in areas with high deprivation, low vaccination uptake and high infection rates.

The Lincolnshire County Council’s Public Health has joined forces with Stagecoach to launch the bright green bus providing rapid testing with results within 30 minutes.

Councillor Martin Hill, LCC leader and chair of the Lincolnshire Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “This is another addition to our community testing programme and will help us to identify Covid amongst those people who are showing no signs of having the infection.

“We’ll use the bus at various locations around the county where it might be most needed. It provides a quick and easy way for local residents who might be out shopping or taking a stroll to pop in and take a supervised lateral flow test or pick up test kits.

“Not only will it give people peace of mind with an on-the-spot testing opportunity, it will also provide us with extra data on infection rates – even more important with the new Omicron variant emerging.”

Residents can also pick up test kits to use at home and make sure they aren’t infected before visiting family and friends with vulnerable members, large indoor events or other high-risk environments. Staff will be on hand to provide advice and guidance on testing.

Natalie Liddle, acting head of service – health protection, said: “The testing bus is a timely boost for our testing programme in Lincolnshire.

“The bus will be used in locations across the county where our data shows it is most needed, for example areas of high deprivation, low vaccination uptake and areas where there are high infection rates. The bus will provide residents with quick and easy access to lateral flow testing.”

A Lincolnshire farmer says this year’s Brussel sprouts are going to be the best they’ve been for many, many years.

Robin Hancox, managing director at Lincolnshire Field Products and FreshLinc haulage firm, has been speaking out about the ‘extreme pressure’ facing the industry – but he says the weather has been kind to the country’s vegetables.

He said: “I can categorically say that the quality of the Brussel sprouts for this year’s Christmas lunch will be of the highest quality that it’s been for many, many years.”

But Mr Hancox says the pressures facing the industry mean “inevitably prices are going to have to go up”.

Staff at East Midlands Railway due to strike over pay and working conditions have called off the action planned during the Lincoln Christmas Market.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) had planned to go on strike on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4, resulting in cancellations to services due to take people to Lincoln Christmas Market.

The union says it is still planning action if a deal can’t be made with EMR, but that would be later this month.

Anyone planning to travel by train over the weekend, including to the Lincoln Christmas Market, is still advised to check EMR timetables before they set off as the short notice of the scrapped action means timetables will be reduced.

An EMR spokesperson said: “We have received notification of the RMT’s decision to suspend the strike action.

“Given the extremely short notice of the decision, EMR will continue to operate a reduced timetable on 3 and 4 December.”

EMR says it has “done everything it can” to prioritise services to and from Lincoln, but anticipates the reduced timetable still won’t be sufficient for the thousands of people hoping to visit the Christmas market. It is urging people to use alternative methods of transport if they can.

Read your guide to the 2021 Lincoln Christmas Market here.

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