Leicestershire’s first drive-through testing centre for coronavirus has been opened

It’s operating on an appointment-only basis for health service staff and essential workers

Monday, 4th May 2020, 10:03 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 10:04 am

NHS staff and key workers across Harborough can now be tested for coronavirus at Leicestershire’s first drive-through testing centre.

The new tightly-controlled complex has been opened at the Birstall Park and Ride site on the northern edge of Leicester.

And it will play a vital role in helping to combat the spread of Covid-19 as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.

NHS staff and key workers across Harborough can now be tested for coronavirus at Leicestershires first drive-through testing centre.

The centre sits alongside a rapidly-expanding network of testing sites around the UK.

It’s operating on an appointment-only basis for health service staff and essential workers.

The testing HQ will be piloted for its first few days of operation.

This follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and testing sites - with 43 regional testing sites opened so far.

This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - used to identify if you currently have the virus - for critical key workers.

This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible - and those who test positive are able to recover.

Cllr Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “The county council owns the park and ride site, operated jointly with the city council.

“We are pleased to be able to make it available to assist the response to the pandemic and to make it easier for our key frontline workers to get tested.”

He added: “It is being set up in a really short time and it’s a great partnership effort with the Government and its contractors.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell said:

“The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.

“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff and other essential workers need to stay at home, meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.

“This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.”

Prof John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said:

“New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our 5-pillar plan to scale up testing, and are critical in supporting NHS staff and other frontline workers who are isolating at home to return safely to work if the test is negative.

“This is a brilliant example of industries and businesses turning their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, which will help to deliver on our aim of carrying out 100,000 tests a day across the UK by the end of the month.”