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Testing facilities extended in England

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The number of mobile testing units – there are currently 147 in the country – is set to rise to 236 by the end of this month, the Government says.

These are mobile units that can be requested by local councils in England in response to increased local demand. They offer both drive-through and walk-through services.

In addition, there are now 68 drive-through regional testing sites in the UK, and last week the Government announced a further 6 walk-through local testing sites in Newcastle, Rochdale, Leeds, Brent, Newham and Slough, offering appointments to people without cars.

Home testing kits are also available, allowing people to test at home and post their return at any of the 30,000 Royal Mail priority postboxes across the UK, which is marked by a regionalised NHS logo. Check where your nearest priority postbox is.

Anyone who receives a home testing kit will also receive instructions and about how to use it safely. If you are shielding, vulnerable or too unwell to leave your house, you can still use the courier service or call the customer contact centre (details in the pack) for further help.

Across the UK, testing capacity has been expanded to more than 200,000 tests a day, so that anyone with symptoms can immediately book a free test.

Dr Virginia Pearson
Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon

“If you have any symptoms of coronavirus – and they are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you should book a test immediate,” said Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon’s Director of Public Health Devon and Chair of the new multi-agency COVID-19 Health Protection Board, which is responsible for local planning to stop the spread of the virus.

“Everyone with symptoms can book or order a free test at or by calling 119.

Essential workers and members of their households can access priority testing on GOV.UK.

“Anyone testing positive in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, to help identify and trace people who they have been in contact with, to control the spread of the virus.”