Asymptomatic testing to become available to students

The new testing booths at the University of Hertfordshire. Picture: UoH

The new testing booths at the University of Hertfordshire. Picture: UoH - Credit: Archant

An asymptomatic testing site (ATS) of lateral flow tests is launching at the University of Hertfordshire’s College Lane campus, as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of mass testing.​

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test – instead they can be processed at a dedicated testing site by trained personnel and can rapidly turn around results within an hour.

Professor Quintin McKellar, vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, said: “It is important that our students have peace of mind this Christmas when travelling home and meeting up with their loved ones again.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this new way of testing for individuals with no COVID-19 symptoms, which is simple, fast and free. I would like to encourage all our students to book a test as soon as they can.

“Asymptomatic testing is an important part of the national strategy to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and it is vital the University of Hertfordshire stays on the front foot and takes an active role in minimising the spread of COVID-19 to keep its students, staff and local community safe.”

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Health minister Lord Bethell said:​ “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.​

“Innovations such as lateral flow technology hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country. ​

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“I’m delighted that universities are working with us to use lateral flow technology, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, in helping students return home for Christmas and to return to a normal way of life as soon as possible.”​

Universities minister, Michelle Donelan, said: “We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year.

“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’. But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”

Students will be encouraged to get tested twice during the first week of December using Lateral Flow Devices. If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately. Should a student test positive they will receive a confirmatory PCR and have to self-isolate for 10 days, still with enough time to return home for Christmas.

Before travelling home students are advised to: book travel in advance, avoid busy times and routes and check their journey in advance to avoid disruptions. If driving only travel with members of your household or support bubble, and follow safer travel advice. On public transport it is important that travellers wear a face covering unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep two metre distance where possible.

From November 30 testing will be available for all students, even if they have no symptoms. Testing will be held at The Forum Restaurant, College Lane campus between 11am and 8.30pm and will offer self-swab tests.

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