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Asymptomatic test sites to open at Kent universities in effort to get students home for Christmas

Test sites for students showing no symptoms of coronavirus are to open at universities next week in an effort to get them home for Christmas.

The asymptomatic testing facilities - where results do not need to be sent to a lab and can be turned around in an hour - will launch at four sites across Kent.

Asymptomatic testing facilities will launch next week
Asymptomatic testing facilities will launch next week

It is hoped the self-swab tests will speed up the process of getting students home safely for the festive period.

In Canterbury they will be set up at the University of Kent, University for the Creative Arts and Christ Church University.

In Medway a site will be available at University for the Creative Arts in Rochester.

Asymptomatic testing helps to break the chain of transmission among students

Students will be encouraged to get tested twice during the first week of December, with test sites opening on Monday.

Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University

If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately. Should a student test positive they will receive a confirmation and have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year.

“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’.

"But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.

The testing is hoped to allow students to get home for Christmas safely
The testing is hoped to allow students to get home for Christmas safely

“Innovations such as lateral flow technology hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.

“I’m delighted that universities are working with us to use lateral flow technology, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, in helping students return home for Christmas and to return to a normal way of life as soon as possible.”

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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