A walk-through coronavirus testing facility has opened at Woodley Road Car Park in Southampton, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.
Testing is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste – or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. You can expect your result the next day.
The site is 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, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre).
Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.
Testing at the new site starts today (Wednesday 16 September), with more appointments available each day. Testing is available for everyone, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, including 75 drive-through sites, 90 walk-through sites, 236 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and three mega laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at a test if they develop symptoms.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
‘Testing is proving an effective way to contain the virus so we are scaling testing capacity and walk-through centres to make it even easier for everyone to get a free coronavirus test.
‘Our NHS Test and Trace service will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus. I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.’
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said:
‘Getting a test is now faster and easier than ever. Local sites will mean anyone who has symptoms can get a free test quickly to find out whether they have the virus and need to stay at home, or can safely return to work and get back to the things they love.
“Over 95% of people will get their results the next day, and anyone who tests positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help to prevent the spread of the virus.’
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer self-administered tests.
Simon Venn, Chief Government & Strategy Officer, Mitie, 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 Government with this vital task. A big thank you to all the NHS staff, Mitie employees and other frontline heroes in Southampton, who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.’
In addition to walk-through testing sites, there are over 75 regional drive-through test sites and 236 mobile testing units which travel the UK to offer coronavirus testing. They respond to need, setting up test sites at care homes, police stations and prisons.
The Government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.