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New Coronavirus Regional Testing Site in Ashford

Published : 16/06/2020

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at the Victoria Road Car Park in Ashford, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test online or by calling 119 to find out if they currently have coronavirus.

The site sits alongside the existing network of testing sites being set up around the UK. Testing will start on Friday, 12 June at the new site, with more appointments available each day.

To increase testing for everyone with symptoms across the country, the Government has more than doubled the capacity of the NHS/PHE laboratory network, set up 58 regional test centres and 116 mobile testing units, and introduced home testing kits.

Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “In order to play our full part in defeating this virus we are ensuring that Kent and Medway have scaled up our capacity to test people for Covid-19.

“We fully support the opening of a regional test site for Ashford. We remain concerned about the number of positive test results in the Ashford area and therefore we welcome anything that helps to reduce the community infection rate. It is important that people continue to follow national guidance if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 and access tests in their local area as quickly as possible and take the right action to recover or quickly get treatment.”

Coronavirus test and trace drive-through poster

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council which owns the car park in Victoria Road, said: “We fully support the Government’s efforts to deliver a comprehensive national testing programme in the war against the Coronavirus.

“Ashford already hosts a mobile testing centre which operates from council-owned land in the town and we are pleased to be playing our part by making the Victoria Road car park available for this new drive-through regional testing centre.”

Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said: “This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it. Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or more normal life.

“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries and businesses with the public sector to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days.

In addition to the regional test sites, 116 mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces travel around the UK to further increase access to coronavirus testing. They respond to need, travelling to test at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons. New units are being brought into operation each day.

The Government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.