Bristol Airport Coronavirus Regional Testing Centre opens for Key Workers
Created: 20th Apr 2020
A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at Bristol Airport as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for thousands more NHS and other key workers.
The site sits alongside a rapidly expanding network of testing sites being set up around the UK, and is operating on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers. The facility will be piloted for its first few days of operation.
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 testing sites across the UK, with 32 testing sites opened to date.
This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - which are used to identify if you currently have 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.
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 and other key 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.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said:
“New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our 5-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.”
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and Boots, and is offering assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days.
Dave Lees, Bristol Airport’s CEO said:
“I am very proud that Bristol Airport is able to play a small but extremely important role in supporting the government’s target to test more and more frontline NHS and keyworkers by making available our staff car park and facilities to become a large scale drive-through testing station. We have been in constant contact with the government to play our part in the Covid-19 response plan including facilitating repatriation, essential flying, military and medical flights and all vital air links necessary at this time.
“I would like to say an enormous thank you to all the teams involved at Bristol Airport and within the Department for Health and Social Care, who have mobilised really quickly to make this testing station a reality. Covid-19 has impacted all families across the UK and we are indebted to all NHS, carers and all keyworkers helping to keep everyone safe during these unprecedented times.”
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.”
Mike Hickey, Area Manager for Boots in Bristol said:
“We feel incredibly proud to be supporting COVID-19 testing for NHS workers in Bristol.
“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 Bristol 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 today.”
The Government is also urgently working on setting up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners.