Published: 16:56, 25 January 2021
| Updated: 17:47, 25 January 2021
A new Covid-19 test centre has opened in Dartford town centre for those displaying symptoms.
The walk-in facility is now up and running at the Acacia Hall car park for those who have booked an appointment online.
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. Appointments will be be made available each day.
Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practicing 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.
The Acacia Hall site, which is currently under development as part of regeneration plans, is in a location designed to be accessible to those without a car.
It forms part of the government's network of UK test sites and laboratories aimed at making it easier to get tested and reduce the time it takes to receive results.
Health Minister, Lord Bethell, said: “To respond to the coronavirus, we have built a major testing and tracing system from scratch.
We are constantly working to expand and improve it with new technologies and innovations so everyone with symptoms can get a test.
“New walk-in sites like this one makes it even easier to get a test no matter where you live.
"If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others and stop the spread of the virus.”
The new site opened today and is being operated in partnership with security firm G4S who will offer self-administered tests.
Alex Lever, Managing Director of G4S’s Testing Site Programme, said: "The Dartford walk-through site will play a key role in supporting the national response to the pandemic and we are extraordinarily proud of our dedicated employees at Covid-19 testing sites across the UK.
"Their enthusiasm has been inspiring as they continue to support the Government, our health services and the public in this crisis."
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace their contacts.
This will help to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for ten days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.
Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.