A CAR park has been converted into a drive-through testing centre as the Government aims to ramp up coronavirus tests.

Mass testing began at Gatwick Airport’s long-stay car park yesterday, a week after airport chiefs closed its North Terminal.

Only NHS staff and key workers will be tested at the site for the time being, on an appointment-only basis.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the large-scale testing centre would be “vital” as the Government scrambles to match its promised 100,000 tests per day promise by the end of April.


“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,” he said.

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

“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.”

The testing centre operates from 9am to 5pm daily.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said the centre would help Sussex’s key workers get back on the front line if they test negative after self-isolating.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

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