Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has released all Driver and Vehicle Agency test centres, to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Testing begins today at DVA’s Boucher Road in Belfast.
Minister Mallon said: “It is important that we all work together in the fightback 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 – and I’m delighted I can play my part. I’ll continue to work with all colleagues to find a way forward that puts the safety of our citizens first. I urge people at home to play their part by staying at home and help us, together, save lives.”
The start of testing at the DVA centre in Boucher Road follows the opening of a COVID-19 testing facility for healthcare workers at the SSE Arena car park in Belfast on Saturday.
This SSE Arena facility is part of an NHS-wide staff testing initiative, which complements Trust testing work.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We know that many members of the healthcare workforce who are currently undertaking home isolation are keen to return to work as soon as possible to support colleagues at this critical time.
“I understand that it has been a frustrating and worrying time for those staff who have displayed symptoms of COVID-19, or those whose family members have symptoms.
“The rapid expansion of testing capacity has been a key priority and we have been working with the Public Health Agency and HSC Trust colleagues to significantly increase the number of healthcare workers who can access testing for COVID-19.
“I want to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to get these staff testing centres ready for use, and the Infrastructure Minister for making these facilities available. I have no doubt that the greater number of tests that can now be carried out will allow vital frontline staff to return to work as we face increasing challenges in the days and weeks ahead.”
To protect customers and staff, the Minister has suspended testing at all MOT test centres while the fight against COVID-19 continues.
All HGVs, trailers and buses with an MOT will be issued with a three-month Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC). All four-year-old cars will be given a Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC) for six months, from the date that their MOT test should have been due. Urgent work is underway to addresses issues in relation to taxis.
It is important that drivers realise that they are responsible under the law for the roadworthiness of their vehicle at all times. Insurers also expect that motorists comply with their legal obligation to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition if they are driving it.