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New Covid-19 testing site opens in Dreamland car park in Margate

A new drive-through and walk-in Covid-19 testing site has opened it's doors in the parking area of a seafront theme park.

The NHS test and trace centre has been set up at Dreamland in Margateand will offer both assisted and self-administered tests.

The new testing site at Dreamland. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography
The new testing site at Dreamland. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography

This site will be in addition to the existing one currently operating in Manston and will offer tests to people with symptoms of coronavirus, with results back normally the next day.

The Margate one, however, will allow people to come on foot and not just in their cars.

Government officials worked with local councils and public health chiefs to narrow down locations for new sites across the area, and Dreamland was chosen as the most suitable for supporting communities in Thanet.

South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, says it should make it easier for people to access free testing.

MP Sir Roger Gale, who represents North Thanet, added: "I hope very much that this will make a significant contribution to test and trace and make it easier for constituents to obtain the medical attention that they require."

Health minister Lord Bethell confirmed Dreamland as a new site in a letter to the two MPs.

Thanet MPs Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale
Thanet MPs Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale

"It is part of a network of regional and local test sites across the UK and is in addition to home tests which can be booked through the government’s online portal," he said.

"Mobile testing units are also travelling the UK, responding to increased regional demand for testing, and supporting hard to reach areas.

"This expansion of testing supports the existing NHS and Public Health England (PHE) infrastructure, which has greatly increased its testing capacity since the coronavirus pandemic began, supporting our commitment to expand local direction of national testing resources and move to a more locally owned and delivered testing model.

"Across the UK, testing capacity has been expanded to more than 300,000 tests a day."

The NHS Test and Trace service has processed more than 25 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began and contacted and identified 546,806 people as recent close contacts since the service began in May.

The new testing site at Dreamland. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography
The new testing site at Dreamland. Picture: Frank Leppard Photography

But the government test booking website was hit with problems last month, with people needing tests being given appointment slots hundreds of miles away from where they live.

In Thanet, people wanting to use the Manston site, were being directed as far away as Manchester and Edinburgh .

Sir Roger stepped in and wrote to the secretary of state for health demanding the booking service be fixed.

Anyone experiencing a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, should book a test at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ , by calling 119, or using the NHS Covid-19 app.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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