Coronavirus regional testing facility to open next to football stadium

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at the Etihad Stadium overflow car park as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for NHS and other key workers.
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It will be part of an expanding network of testing sites being set up around the UK and is operating on an appointment-only basis.

The facility will be piloted for its first few days of operation.

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This follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rolling out the network of new labs and testing sites across the UK, with 36 regional testing sites opened to date.

Manchester City's Etihad StadiumManchester City's Etihad Stadium
Manchester City's Etihad Stadium

This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - which are used to identify if you currently have the virus - for critical key workers.

This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible and those who test positive are able to recover.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: "The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS and ultimately save lives.

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“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff and other essential workers need to stay at home, meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.

“This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.”

Prof John Newton, national co-ordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said: “New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our five-pillar plan to scale up testing, and are critical in supporting NHS staff and other frontline workers who are isolating at home to return safely to work if the test is negative.

“This is a brilliant example of industries and businesses turning their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, which will help to deliver on our aim of carrying out 100,000 tests a day across the UK by the end of the month.”

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The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and Boots and will offer assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days.

David Regan, Manchester's director for public health, said: "This is an essential part of the momentum behind the next stages for tracking and tracing the virus, so that we keep people safe, while helping staff back to work and building up our knowledge of the disease pattern."

Omar Berrada, chief operating officer of Manchester City Football Club, said: “We have been working in partnership with the NHS for many weeks now and can see, close at hand, the tireless work they do, day in day out for the people of our city.

"We are full of admiration and gratitude for their efforts and for those of so many other key workers across Manchester and the UK. It’s a privilege to be able to play a part in supporting a program of such importance on our Etihad Campus site.”

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Gary Crate, Etihad Campus estate manager, said: “Etihad Campus Partners are pleased to support the national testing programme.”

Gordon Brockington, G4S director, said: “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this Covid-19 testing site and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”

A Boots UK spokesperson said: "Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Manchester is no exception. Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this Covid-19 testing station, which will start testing its first critical workers on Monday.”

The Government has also set up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners.

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