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People without Covid-19 symptoms can be tested at a pop-up testing centre at 170 Orchard Road near Christchurch Airport from 10am until 4pm.
Deborah Callahan said the focus was on asymptomatic people, because Covid could be present in people without symptoms.
"People with Covid symptoms should be being tested at their general practice or at a community based assessment centre already.
"This is for asymptomatic people because as we know Covid can be present in people without symptoms and it's important just to keep an eye on what's going on in our community."
The temporary testing facility will have capacity for drive-through with testing through car windows, or walk-ins. For those without their own transport the nearest bus-stop is on Harewood Road, route 125.
The Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards advised people to arrive earlier rather than later, in case of high demand. Test results wold be sent via text message up to 72 hours later.
It advises anyone with Covid-19 symptoms, such as acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms: new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, stuffy or runny nose, or a lost sense of smell - with or without a fever, to contact their GP or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Anyone with symptoms and not registered with a GP can attend the testing centre run by Whānau Ora at 250 Pages Road between 9am to 1pm, seven days a week. Appointments were not needed.
For general health information visit healthinfo.org.nz