Walk-through coronavirus test site opens in Stevenage

The latest data on COVID-19 cases in Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere has been revealed. Picture: (AP P

A walk-through centre is starting carrying out coronavirus tests in a Stevenage car park. - Credit: (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A new walk-through COVID-19 testing centre has opened in Stevenage, allowing those with symptoms to book tests and access them easily. 

The site at the Primett Road car park in the Old Town began testing people yesterday, as part of the government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.

Testing at this site is only available for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. 

The new site is situated to be easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout - including while travelling to and from the testing centre. 

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

This comes the same week that the mass vaccine centre opened in the town, which Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer paid  a visit to yesterday. 

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Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said on the new sites: "Vaccination and testing are the two things which are vital to ensure we start to suppress the spread of this terrible virus.

"For now though it’s important that we all stick to the spirit of the restrictions as well as the letter of them. We must protect the NHS to give them time to get the vaccination programme under way."

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Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Walk-through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand our testing network across the UK which now has the capacity to process more than 700,000 tests a day.

"We will continue to expand capacity to improve test turnaround times and push forward testing innovations to make sure anyone who needs a test can get one."

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Levy and will offer self-administered tests.

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