London Stansted has announced the opening of a drive-in coronavirus testing centre at the airport as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for NHS workers.
The facility is part of a network of testing centres being set up around the UK, and it will operate on an appointment basis for self-isolating key NHS workers, or the symptomatic members of their family. These NHS workers will be selected and contacted directly by their NHS Trust.
The move follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin the rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK, with 13 new testing centres opened to date. This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests, which are used to identify if the individual currently has the virus, for key workers – starting with NHS front line staff.
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 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.’
Ken O’Toole, London Stansted’s CEO, said: ‘I am very proud that London Stansted has been able to play a small but vitally important part in supporting the government’s drive to test more and more frontline NHS staff by making available one of our main long-stay car parks.
‘As the airport benefits from excellent surface access and currently has space available to accommodate a large-scale testing area it makes complete sense for us to offer our parking facilities to support the on-going and fast-moving response to this unprecedented situation.
‘I’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of the teams, both here at the airport and within the Department for Health and Social Care, who have moved very quickly to make this possible. This virus has affected communities up and down the country, and we are all in debt to the fantastic NHS and other frontline staff who continue to do all they can to keep us safe and well so it is only right we do whatever we can to help them in return.’