Volunteers join effort to stop the spread of Covid in Bolton

Volunteers have joined health professionals on the streets of Bolton to try to stop the spread of Covid in the town.

Surge testing is also underway areas of Blackburn, Lancashire and Sefton, Merseyside.

Public Health England data shows a rise in cases of the Indian variant of concern from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK.

It has been confirmed that the Army will return to the North West to help drive down rising rates of coronavirus thought to be caused by the Indian variant.

The Prime Minister has refused to rule out a local lockdown in Bolton as cases of the Covid-19 Indian variant continue to sharply rise.

Handing out test kits to households in Bolton Credit: ITV Granada

More doses have been sent to the town which currently has the highest infection rate in the country, mainly among young people.

Mobile testing units have been deployed and door-to-door PCR Covid testing has been offered to 22,000 residents in the Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever areas.

A team of volunteers are helping the local council deploy the test kits in the community, but some are reporting a mixed reaction from households.

Student Shana Jani and her family were amongst those to take a test.

She said a local lockdown could be "quite disruptive" and devastating on local businesses.

The government is pushing on with a major easing of restrictions on Monday despite concerns over the Indian variant.

The British Medical Association said the move is a "real worry" while many are still awaiting vaccination.