Mobile coronavirus testing centres expanding across Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 11:27 29 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 29 June 2020
More towns in Suffolk are set to be visited by mobile coronavirus testing stations as the government looks to double those mobilised.
The testing centres, mobilised by the Ministry of Defence alongside with the Suffolk Resilience Forum, will run alongside Copdock’s permanent testing centre, which is open every day from 8am to 7pm.
New testing centres opened in Beccles and Sudbury last week, with a further site set to open in Framlingham and Halesworth this week.
It comes as the UK’s mobile testing unit capacity is boosted by the largest deployment of armed forces personnel during the Covid-19 outbreak.
An additional 140 Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) vehicles will be made available across the country, bringing the number of mobile testing units to 236, up from 96 at the end of April.
A further 1,763 armed forces personnel will be tasked with providing support to the units.
Where will the testing centres be?
■ Leiston – Leiston Leisure Centre, Red House Lane – Thursday, July 2.
■ Lowestoft – Waterlane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road – Wednesday, July 1 and Friday, July 3.
■ Bury St Edmunds – Disused recycling centre in Rougham Hill Road – Tuesday, June 30 and Friday, July 3.
■ Eye – Hartismere Hospital – Wednesday, July 1 and Sunday, July 5.
■ Beccles – Beccles Hospital – Saturday, July 4. ■ Framlingham – Location TBC – Thursday, July 2 and Sunday, July 5. ■ Halesworth – North Suffolk Skills Centre – Tuesday, June 30 and Saturday, July 4.
■ Sudbury – Great Cornard Sports Centre – Wednesday, July 1 and Saturday, July 4.
Outside of Suffolk, tests will also be available from these government-run mobile sites:
■ Clacton – Clacton Leisure Centre – Tuesday, June 30 and Friday, July 3.
■ Thetford – Brecklands Leisure Centre – Wednesday, June 30 and Sunday, July 5.
■ Great Yarmouth – Location TBC – Thursday, July 1 and Sunday, July 5.
Who is eligible for testing?
In England, anyone showing coronavirus symptoms – including fever, a persistent cough and losing senses of taste and smell – is eligible for testing.
Tests can be booked for yourself or any member of your household.
All tests must be booked – there are no walk-in or drive-in appointments.
After booking a test, you will be encouraged to alert those who you have had close contact with – and those in your household should start a period of self-isolation for 14 days since symptoms began.
A list of scenarios and how long you should self-isolate for can be found on the Suffolk County Council testing website.
Links to the Home, But Not Alone service are also available on the website.
How do you book a test?
Tests can be booked via the government’s online portal or by calling the new dedicated 119 number.
Essential workers can also book for priority testing, alongside those working in care homes – including asymptomatic carers.
In Waveney, tests for key workers such as teachers and those working in transport are eligible for free testing outside of the government’s testing capability.
The tests, offered by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, can be applied for via its website.
Government guidance states tests need to be carried out within the first five days of symptoms appearing in order to be the most effective.
What does the Government say?
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Testing is at the heart of the strategy for beating coronavirus.
“The UK armed forces have played a vital role in ensuring that key workers and the most vulnerable are able to access that testing where and when they need it most.
“Our military will continue to support however possible and for as long as needed, in order to keep the British people safe as lockdown measures are adjusted.”
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