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Symptom-free testing site in Kemsley, near Sittingbourne, to close, while Sheppey's will extend its hours

The symptom-free Covid testing centre on Sheppey will soon be offering extended hours – while Kemsley’s will shut.

Kent County Council (KCC) has announced that the testing programme across Kent will remain in place until at least the end of June 2021 as "a vital part of the restrictions easing" across the county.

The symptom-free mass coronavirus testing site at Kemsley Village Hall has been operated by the military
The symptom-free mass coronavirus testing site at Kemsley Village Hall has been operated by the military

However, the hub at Kemsley Village Hall, in Ridham Avenue, which opened at the beginning of January and has been operated by the military, will close on Tuesday, March 30.

Meanwhile, from Wednesday, March 31, the testing centre at Sheerness East Working Men’s Club in Halfway will be extending its hours to between 9am and 7pm.

The changes come as Kent’s director for public health, Andrew Scott-Clark, has advised that, from today, Monday, March 15, everyone who lives and works in Kent should be tested for Covid-19 twice a week.

He said: “Combined with the other guidelines that we all continue to follow, rapid testing is a vital tool to continue to reduce infection rates and, most importantly, to ensure that they stay low.

"We want people to take a lateral flow test twice a week, particularly those people who have to leave home to work. A one-off test is of limited benefit as it can only provide information about the likelihood of being infectious at that point in time.

Public health boss, Andrew Scott-Clark
Public health boss, Andrew Scott-Clark

“Twice-weekly testing will give us more accurate results and help us to continue to drive down case rates down in Kent and save lives.

“Covid-19 is still a very real threat and I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that everyone who is eligible is tested regularly to minimise the spread of the virus, especially as the national restrictions are gradually eased from March 29.

“Let’s keep Kent going and reduce the impact of this deadly virus by working together to keep each other safe.”

Around one in three people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms and will spread it without realising. Rapid testing detects the virus quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately and the chain of transmission can be broken.

Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature, new or continuous cough or loss or change in taste or smell – should not visit a symptom-free testing site and continue to self-isolate.

Book a symptom-free test here.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

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