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London Stansted Airport in the UK is set to open a drive-in coronavirus testing centre for frontline National Health Service (NHS) workers.
The move is aligned with the government’s efforts to ramp up testing, as the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK crosses 85,000.
The airport site will be used on an appointment basis to quarantine key NHS workers or members of their family showing coronavirus symptoms.
Additionally, the centre will conduct PCR swab tests enabling swift identification of Covid-19 patients. Also, it will facilitate the return of critical key workers, who test negative.
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.
“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff 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.”
The government has already collaborated with universities, research institutes and companies to roll out new labs and field testing sites across the country.
Currently, 13 such testing centres are operational.
London Stansted CEO Ken O’Toole said: “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.”
Notably, the airport started redesigning the corridors and flightpath network last month in a bid to improve efficiency.