London Stansted airport has opened a coronavirus testing centre, as part of the government’s drive to ramp up testing for NHS workers.
Located within one of the airport’s long-stay car parks, the drive-in centre is similar to that which opened at Gatwick airport earlier this week, and is the 13th testing centre to open across the UK so far.
The facility will offer up to five testing lanes, and is operating on an appointment basis for self-isolating key NHS workers, or symptomatic members of their family, who will be contacted directly by their NHS Trust.
Samples from the testing site will be analysed at labs using Thermo Fisher Scientific test machines loaned by universities across the country and public sector research establishments, with key workers receiving their test results “within a few days”.
The centre is part of the government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to roll out a network of labs and field testing sites, with the aim of carrying out 100,000 tests per day by the end of April.
Commenting on the news Ken O’Toole, London Stansted’s CEO:
“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.
“During the pandemic we have been in constant contact with the government, and have looked to play our part in the response when and where possible, including facilitating repatriation flights to get people home and hosting more essential cargo flights to bring in vital medical supplies, medicines and food.
“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.”