A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility is to open for those with symptoms to book appointments at Cranfield University, Medway Court, Building 3, in Central Bedfordshire, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.
Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. From the start of the pandemic, testing has been prioritised for the most vulnerable, including patients in clinical settings and care home residents, vital health and care staff and to manage outbreaks.
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 while 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, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
Testing at the new site will start today (Monday 5 October), with appointments made available each day.
The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, which now comprises 77 drive-through sites, 144 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five mega laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them trace 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, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We continue to expand testing to make sure that everyone with symptoms can get a test, with our new walk-in sites making it even easier no matter where you live. This new site forms part of our national testing network, which has the capacity to test more than a million people a week and is growing all the time.
“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 around you and stop the spread of the virus.”
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “Our new walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test. This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October. Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
“Everybody should continue to think hands, face, space, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted – this is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life.”
Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University, said: "Since the start of the pandemic, Cranfield academics have been assisting the national and global efforts to fight COVID-19 whether through developing wastewater testing, designing new ventilators or 3D printing PPE. We are proud to now be supporting the vital testing programme in the UK and welcome this local NHS walk-through testing centre for our students, our staff and the wider community."
The testing centre is being operated by the NHS in partnership with G4S and will offer self-administered tests.
Gordon Brockington, G4S Director said: “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this COVID-19 testing site, and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”
Notes for editors
- Everyone with symptoms can book or order a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus. Those unable to access the internet can call 119 in England and Wales or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland to book a test.
- See more information on visiting a local test site.
- The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). Those being tested may experience some mild discomfort but it should not hurt.
- Anyone taking a test at a test site can expect their results the next day.
- Testing and tracing are central to the Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy. To stop the spread of the virus, everyone will need to play their part by isolating if symptomatic, booking a test as soon as possible, and if asked to do so, identifying their close contacts. This is the best way to enable life to return to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. More information about how the NHS test and trace works can be found on the GOV.UK website.
- Following the rapid expansion of coronavirus testing, the UK reached the 200,000 capacity target on Saturday 30 May, including capacity for 40,000 antibody tests a day: see more on the GOV.UK website.
- See latest testing statistics on the GOV.UK website.