Coronavirus testing centre opens at London Stansted airport

PUBLISHED: 10:22 15 April 2020

The entrance to Stansted Airport

The entrance to Stansted Airport


A drive-in coronavirus testing centre has opened at London Stansted airport to increase testing for NHS workers.

The Stansted Airport testing site, operated in partnership with Sodexo, will provide up to five testing lanes. During its first few days of operation it was in a pilot phase, sharing what it learns with other sites as they open.

The site is part of a rapidly expanding network of testing centres being set up around the UK, and will operate on an appointment basis for self-isolating key NHS workers, or the symptomatic member of their family. These NHS workers will be selected and contacted directly by their NHS Trust.

Key workers tested at the driveiin sites will receive their test results within a few days.

This follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK, with 13 new testing centres opened to date.

This network will provide thousands more swab tests, which are used to identify if someone has the virus, for critical key workers – starting with NHS front line staff. 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.

Ken O’Toole, London Stansted’s CEO, said: “I am very proud that London Stansted has been able to play a small but vitally important part in supporting the government’s drive to test more frontline NHS staff by making available one of our main long-stay car parks.

“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.”

Samples from the testing sites will be analysed at new labs that have been set up in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow, using Thermo Fisher Scientific test machines loaned by universities across the country and public sector research establishment. Industry are also actively helping to establish these laboratories and the Government is working with Boots and other partners to set-up over 50 regional test centres around the country.

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