UK’s first drive-through coronavirus test station opens on motorway

A coronavirus drive-through testing station has been set-up by a Welsh health board, just off the M4.

The station, set up in a playing field changing room will enable people suspected of carrying the virus to have swabs taken by staff in protective clothes, while still sitting in their cars.

It is hoped the measure will enable people with cars to stay away from hospitals and clinics and reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus.

Swansea Bay University Health Board says those being tested will only be able to access it by being referred by appointment only, such as through the 111 NHS service.

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Separate drive-through stations have also been set up in Wrexham, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, report WalesOnline.

I t comes as the World Health Organisation has declared the COVID-19 virus as having reached a 'pandemic'.

Around 27,500 people in the UK have been tested for the virus. Of those 456 have been declared as positive cases and six people who tested positive have died.

The NHS is now looking to ramp up its testing capacity across the UK.

It means 10,000 tests a day can be done – 8,000 more than the 1,500 being carried out currently.

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Wales and Northern Ireland are said to be managing their own response.

Hywel Dda University Health Board says the coronavirus testing units (CTUs) are at undisclosed locations in Carmarthen and Cardigan and more may be opened in the coming weeks.

Keith Reid, Swansea Bay director of public health, said: “The demand for testing people for COVID-19 is growing, so it is important that we are able to provide a convenient and safe way to provide tests in a timely way, and which makes the best use of our hard-working staff.

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“People who don’t drive or don’t have access to a car can still be tested in their own home.

“We are very grateful to Neath Port Talbot Council for allowing us to use their land to set up the unit.”

Stringent infection control measures are said to be in place at the testing unit, including staff in specialist protective clothing.

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People concerned about coronavirus are warned they will not be seen at the testing station if they do not have an appointment.

Anyone concerned they may have coronavirus is advised to visit an online COVID-19 symptom checker .

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