COVID-19: UK opens mobile testing centres for essential workers

New testing sites will examine workers at care homes, police stations and prisons

COVID-19: UK opens mobile testing centres for essential workers

Military personnel in the UK are now operating pop-up testing sites in the fight against COVID-19 to ease the pressure on NHS laboratories screening people for the new coronavirus.

The UK government promised to conduct 100,000 tests a day by the end of April, and is currently deploying 96 mobile units that will examine key workers at care homes, police stations, fire stations, prisons and benefits centres in ‘hard to reach’ communities, the BBC reported.

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Uniformed and civilian personnel assigned to operate the mobile units will collect nose and throat swab samples within minutes then send all samples to “mega labs” which will then process the results within 48 hours.

The expansion of testing centres – whether through the military’s pop-up facilities or other drive-through facilities – has purportedly raised the current daily screening capacity of the UK to more than 73,000 tests, Health Secretary Matt Hancock believes.

The secretary also said more people will be eligible to take the COVID-19 test. “From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe,” Hancock said at a news conference Tuesday.

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So far, however, the number of daily screenings was at 43,563 only, based on 28 April data from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.

“We have certainly got to get the daily testing right up to hundreds of thousands,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One.

Effective case tracking, along with developing a vaccine and possible treatment, is critical in “dealing with [the] coronavirus sustainably and responsibly for good,” Raab said.

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