A walk-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at the Castle Car Park in Carlisle, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 and 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 started Friday 7 August. 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 73 drive-through sites, 26 walk-through sites, 236 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five 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 test if they develop symptoms.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
“Walk-in centres have made it even easier to get a free coronavirus test. If you have symptoms, however mild, please get tested now to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.”
“The Government continues to scale up testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.
“This is supported by our NHS Test and Trace service, which 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.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said:
“This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it. Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or more normal life.
“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries, business and the public sector, working together to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”
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 Carlisle who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.”