Published: 11:05, 12 January 2021
| Updated: 11:24, 12 January 2021
A further five rapid-result coronavirus testing sites for people who do not have symptoms are due to open in Kent in the next week.
In addition to the 14 centres already up and running, people will from today be able to book tests at the Swanscombe Centre in Swanscombe,the Bat and Ball Centre in Sevenoaks, the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, Hawkinge Community Centre, and County Hall in Maidstone.
People booking tests will need a QR code app reader or the NHS app already installed on their mobile phone, with assistance available at the centres for registration if needed.
Once all 19 facilities across the county are open there will be capacity for more than 17,000 tests to be carried out in Kent every day.
Kent County Council says that so far 53,260 tests have been carried out, with 526 positive cases identified in those who would otherwise have been unaware they were infected.
Council leader Roger Gough said: "I previously outlined four crucial actions that will help us get out of tier four restrictions - following the guidelines; symptom-free testing; contact tracing and enforcement.
"Rapid testing, combined with additional resources in contact tracing, gives us the opportunity to make significant strides in identifying and containing the virus across the county."
"Keep following the restrictions and stay at home if possible..."
It is believed that one in three people with Covid-19 will display no symptoms at all. People in Kent are now being urged to get tested regularly, even if they do not display outward signs of the infection.
Kent's director of public health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: "Symptom-free testing sites will help people to come forward and book themselves regular tests so we can find those who may be unknowingly transmitting the virus either at home or at work.
"I would ask employers across the county to help with this by encouraging their staff to regularly attend for a test.
"The message to everyone across Kent is to keep following the restrictions and stay at home if possible. It’s important to self-isolate, not only after receiving a positive test result but also while you wait for the results."
Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within a couple of hours of attending the test by text or email.
If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR test to confirm their positive result.
If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.
To book a test and for more information go to www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest