Coronavirus: New mass testing scheme in Portsmouth to apply to asymptomatic critical workers

ASYMPTOMATIC key workers in Portsmouth will soon benefit from regular coronavirus testing as part of a new scheme.

By Fiona Callingham
Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 3:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 3:39 pm

The city council is currently working to secure a community Covid-19 testing programme that will supply rapid lateral flow tests to those continuing to work during the pandemic - and providing results in up to 30 minutes.

It is hoped the project, that is part of a joint venture with neighbouring authorities, will help 'reduce the spread' of Covid across the area and keep critical workers safe.

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Hampshire could get 11 new Covid-19 testing centres this month

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Covid-19 testing for asymptomatic key workers will soon be rolled out

Helen Atkinson, the director of public health for Portsmouth, said: 'Portsmouth City Council is working closely with Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council and Isle of Wight Council on a joint bid to government for a community Covid-19 testing programme.

'The programme will offer regular testing, freely available, for critical workers without symptoms who need to leave home for work but are not covered by an existing workplace scheme.

'We will make an announcement on how this will roll out in Portsmouth very soon.

'The ultimate aim of the programme is to reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection in Portsmouth.'

An existing walk-in Covid testing centre at the Eldon Building car park. Location: Beresford Street, Portsmouth Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Earlier this week it was announced up to 11 testing sites are due to be set up across the Hampshire County Council area as part of a six-week mass testing programme.

The locations of the 11 sites have yet to be made public.

Dr Debbie Chase, the director of public health at Southampton City Council, said : 'We will make an announcement for how this will roll out in Southampton in the coming weeks. Subject to confirmation, testing could begin by the end of the month.'

Currently there are two walk-in Covid test centres in Portsmouth, at the Eldon Building car park in the city centre and at Northarbour Road in Cosham.

However, both of these are by appointment and only for those displaying symptoms of coronavirus. The tests used here also take a few days to provide results.

A regional drive-in test centre is located in Southampton Airport, following the closure of the temporary one in the Tipner car park in the north of Portsmouth.

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