Published: 15:25, 18 January 2021
| Updated: 15:34, 18 January 2021
A new walk-through testing facility for people with coronavirus symptoms has opened on Sheppey.
It has opened at the Bridge Road Car Park in Sheerness as part of the government’s drive to continue to improve the accessibility of Covid-19 testing for local communities.
Testing at the site, between Sheppey College and McDonald's, started on Saturday and it is only available for people with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to senses of smell or taste.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the site was situated so it was easily accessible without a car.
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.
Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
'I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace...'
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 10 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.
Health minister Lord Bethell said: “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 testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer self-administered tests.
Simon Venn, Mitie chief government and strategy officer, said: “Our priority during the pandemic is to support the nation’s efforts to fight Covid-19 and help keep the country running.
"Testing is a critical part of the UK’s strategy to combat coronavirus and we’re proud to support the UK government with this vital task.
"A big thank you to all the NHS staff, Mitie employees and other frontline heroes in Swale, who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.”
This new site in Sheerness is in addition to the symptom-free testing site at the Sheerness East Working Men's Club in Halfway, which opened in December.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
To book a symptom-free Covid-19 test near you, use this link: kcc.healthit.org.uk