New Covid test site opens in former Sainsbury's car park in Portsmouth

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A FORMER city supermarket car park is now a Covid-19 test centre.

Portsmouth City Council has set up a new walk-in coronavirus testing site in front of the Sainsbury’s building in Commercial Road, that closed in January.

It will stay open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm and will replace the Eldon Road test centre that closed on June 25 as well as the North Harbour site that is set to close in September.

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Portsmouth Sainsbury's, Commercial Rd, before it closed down in January.
Picture: Chris Moorhouse      (161220-59)Portsmouth Sainsbury's, Commercial Rd, before it closed down in January.
Picture: Chris Moorhouse      (161220-59)
Portsmouth Sainsbury's, Commercial Rd, before it closed down in January. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (161220-59)

The site will provide bookable PCR test appointments for anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 or who has tested positive using a rapid lateral flow test and needs a confirmatory PCR test, and will offer rapid lateral flow test kit collection in the near future.

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘The city has a continuing need for a Covid-19 test facility. Throughout the pandemic the council has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, using our knowledge of the city, to make sure we can provide suitable and accessible locations for residents to get tested. Along with the vaccination programme, testing is vital in the fight against coronavirus.’

Helen Atkinson, the city’s director of public health, added: ‘Testing is going to be part of our lives as we continue our journey out of the pandemic. So having a centrally located test site for anyone with symptoms, or anyone who has had a positive asymptomatic rapid lateral flow test result, is crucial. Testing helps identify those with Covid-19 so they can isolate and help stop the spread of the virus, which as we know is highly transmissible, and even more so with the latest Delta variant.

‘If you develop symptoms - a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - isolate and book a test online or by calling 119. I urge everyone to keep going with the things we know help prevent the virus spreading - remember “hands, face, space,” and fresh air at all times.’

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Car parking is not provided on site. Visitors are advised to park at Cascades shopping centre.

Supervised lateral flow tests are still available at the Somers Town community hub.

The council bought the Sainsbury’s site this year as part of plans to regenerate the city centre.

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