New Public COVID-19 Testing Programme

Peter Bayne


Peter Bayne


Sunday 8 August 2021 14:06

NEWRY, Mourne and Down District Council in conjunction with the Department of Health NI have set up an assisted Asymptomatic Test Site (ATS) at the Ballymote Sports and Wellbeing Centre, Downpatrick where members of the public can book a slot and undertake a rapid lateral flow test.

Rapid testing is available for anyone over the age of 12, who cannot access tests through their employer or place of education. It should only be used by people who have no symptoms of the disease.

The rapid testing programme is launching at the Ballymote Sports and Wellbeing Centre on Tuesday 10 August as part of the NI Executive’s continuing drive to increase the availability of testing. The test centre will operate every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 1.30pm - 4.30pm. To book a test please visit

Around one in three people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

Rapid testing helps to identify cases early so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. This protects those at high risk and helps to enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible. 

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “Rapid testing technologies hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see testing available to people across the country.

“I’m delighted that the Department of Health are working with us to use the latest technology in the Ballymote Sports and Wellbeing Centre, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further.”

For more information on the Asymptomatic Test Site (ATS) and to book a test appointment please visit

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