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Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), are offering COVID-19 testing for the local community and university students and staff through a new local testing facility.

The walk-through site, which is based in the car park of the university’s Eldon building, offers timed appointments which can be booked in advance at or by calling 119. Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, new continuous cough and/or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste) can book a test. Results can be expected the next day.

The site is easily accessible without a car and those being tested will be required to follow public health measures including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering, which is mandatory for everyone except babies and toddlers.

The throat and nose swabs are self-administered and there are no clinical staff on site.

If someone is medically exempt from wearing a face covering or cannot take a swab themselves due to a physical impairment, other options – including appointments at the Tipner drive-through site or home testing kits – are available when booking. Children can be tested at this site but need to have a parent/guardian to take the swabs.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We’re pleased to have partnered with the university and DHSC to install a new testing facility at the university that will be available to the wider community as well as students and staff. It shows our commitment to doing everything we can to help keep the infection rate low in the city.

“In addition, this testing facility can be accessed on foot so it will open up in-person testing to those who don’t have a vehicle and so can’t use the Tipner site.”

Professor Bob Nichol, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Portsmouth, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this testing centre which will help reassure our University community and local residents.

“We are working closely with DHSC and Portsmouth City Council on several COVID-related measures, such as this testing site and other precautions the University is putting in place, in preparation for the return of both staff and students to campus.”

Measures at the university to support social distancing and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in line with government and expert guidance include carrying out temperature scanning in a number of locations around the campus and the expectation that students and staff wear a face covering inside all university buildings. There will be hand sanitiser points, enhanced cleaning, and one-way systems in buildings as they re-open.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to identify close contacts and help to contain further spread. Any close contacts will be contacted and advised to stay at home for 14 days, and to book a test if they develop symptoms.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said:“Walk-in centres have made it even easier to get a free coronavirus test. If you have symptoms, however mild, please get tested now to help stop the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.

“The Government continues to scale up testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives. This is supported by our NHS Test and Trace service, which will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

“I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”