Gatwick Airport site to become coronavirus test centre for NHS staff

A long-stay car park at Gatwick Airport is being used as a drive-through coronavirus test centre for NHS staff.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 10:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 10:23 am

The site, which will also be used to test ‘invited key workers’, opened today and will be available daily from 9am - 5pm on an appointment-only basis.

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “We are pleased to support the national effort against the spread of the coronavirus by allowing Gatwick facilities to be used as a vital testing centre for frontline health workers.

“We have the space available at Gatwick to be able to host such a large-scale operation.

Gatwick Airport. Pic: Derek Martin

“Alongside keeping the airport open to support repatriation flights, amongst others, we are happy to be able to support the NHS, Government and the country in whatever way we can.”

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.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well. With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: “Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role.”

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

In addition, please write to your MP urging the Government to provide some additional financial support for local newspapers and their websites like this one and ensuring that supermarkets continue to stock them. I cannot stress enough how important such an intervention would be.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.