Croydon is to get a covid-19 testing centre – for three days, anyway.
The government announced this morning that a temporary, drive-in testing centre, staffed by the Army, is being set up in the car park behind the Fairfield Halls.
It is operating today, tomorrow and Saturday, May 2.
Testing at this centre is only for key workers and their families who have symptoms of the virus, or those over 65 years old who have symptoms. Tests are by appointment only, arranged via the government website.
The announcement comes after strong protests from MPs, trades unions and even the Bishop of Croydon about the lack of a testing centre closer to Croydon, which has one of the highest, if not the highest (the statistics vary from day-to-day) number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the capital.
NHS staff and keyworkers or their family have faced the prospect of driving all the way to Chessington, at least 30 minutes away, if they have been feeling unwell and needed to get tested. With hospital staff under intense pressure of work, this was the kind of visit to a “world of adventure” that our nurses, doctors and orderlies could really do without.
Testing is regarded by the World Health Organization and other medical experts and scientists as an essential tool to overcome the covid-19 pandemic, as it allows those who contract the disease to be isolated to avoid spreading it any further, while those key workers given a clean bill of health are able to continue or resume their important work.
In the past fortnight, the number of testing centres around the country has been increased to around 30, including some mobile units as will be used in Croydon.
At the beginning of the lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that 250,000 tests would be carried out daily. Figures suggest that the government, not for the first time during the pandemic crisis, has fallen a long way short of its target.
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