Schoolchildren and manufacturing workers will be first in line for new rapid coronavirus testing.

Testing kits will be offered to parents in areas of Basildon with the greatest number of cases to test their children. When requested to do so, parents are encouraged to get their child tested.

A mobile testing unit is also set to be deployed to Basildon and large employers in the town will be some of the first to receive lateral flow tests in the coming weeks.

It comes as Basildon is seeing case numbers soar and the council boss is demanding schools are shut.

>>> Basildon school to close? Coronavirus call from council leader

The latest data published by Public Health England has revealed a sharp increase in the case rate, with Basildon now having one of the highest rates nationally at over 285 cases per 100,000.

Infection is particularly prevalent in the 10-18 year age group (secondary school age children and younger adults) with data suggesting up to 40 per cent of cases may be related to schools.

However, it is important to note that those that have tested positive, and included in school figures, may have been infected outside of education environments.

John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “The rise in coronavirus in Basildon is a sobering reminder that there is still work to be done to contain the spread.

“Basildon residents, and particularly families with school age children or young adults at home, need to be more careful than ever to help us halt this rise.

"Please work from home wherever you can. Stay 2m apart from other people - always assume the person you are near may be infected.”