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Apr 28, 2020

Mobile Testing For Frontline Workers

Essential workers and the most vulnerable will receive increased access to coronavirus tests after the government unveiled a network of mobile testing units, operated by the Armed Forces, that will travel where there is significant demand, including care homes, police stations, and prisons...

The new units will work alongside the country’s drive-through test sites, sending patient samples to the network of Lighthouse Labs, to rapidly increase the number of tests done each day.

The number of new mobile units is being scaled up after a successful pilot which saw Department of Health and Social Care vehicles refitted to fully functioning testing sites, following a design developed by the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Existing mobile units have been carrying out tests across the country, including in Salisbury, Southport and Teesside.

Mobile facilities can be set up in under 20 minutes, allowing the testing of hundreds of people each day and are now travelling to those most in need and hard to reach. Specially trained Armed Forces personnel will collect swabs at the mobile sites, before they are sent to mega-labs for processing. Those tested will receive results within 48 hours.

Rapid expansion of a network of mobile test units is now underway, with new units being fielded in the coming weeks and at least 96 ready to be deployed by the start of May.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Our Armed Forces will help deliver testing to where it’s most needed, using a network of mobile units. They will make sure our care sector get the testing required to remain in the frontline of the fight against this pandemic."

Image: © Crown Copyright


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