Thirty-two residents with no Covid symptoms tested positive for the disease in the first two days of Hertfordshire's rapid testing rollout.

In a bid to find people unknowingly spreading coronavirus, Hertfordshire County Council is introducing pop-up testing sites for people with no symptoms.

Primarily for key and essential workers, the sites offer lateral flow tests, capable of telling someone if they have Covid within an hour of taking the test.

The rollout began on January 20, with selected sites open around the county everyday since.

In a briefing with the media on January 22, Hertfordshire's director of public health Jim McManus revealed the number of people who had visited a rapid testing site in the county on January 20 and 21, and tested positive.

He said out of 350 who took a test in either Potters Bar or Cheshunt, 14 (four per cent) returned a positive result for Covid, while out of 492 residents in the Watford and Three Rivers area, 18 came back positive (3.6 per cent).

If those results were replicated across Hertfordshire, that could theoretically mean there are 44,000 people who unknowingly have Covid.

If those 32 people identified as positive on January 20 and 21 self-isolate, as required, that could be enough to reduce the number of future cases in the county by hundreds.

Read more: List of rapid testing Covid sites in and around Watford this week

Mr McManus said: "The quicker we get those positive people to self isolate, the faster we will stop the curve – and actually tip the curve to go down.

"It will have a positive impact if we pick them up but then they self-isolate. That’s the crucial thing. All the testing in the world won’t make a blind bit of difference if people aren’t self-isolating."

Hertfordshire's executive member for public health, Cllr Tim Hutchings, added: "Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms, which means they can spread the virus to their loved ones without realising.

"By taking a rapid test, it means you will know almost immediately if you have coronavirus, so that you can protect your family, friends and community and ultimately break the chain of transmission of the virus."

Anyone Hertfordshire residents wanting a rapid test must book online here.