FULL details have been released about Sussex's newest coronavirus testing centre.

The site at Plumpton Racecourse was constructed late last week and opened on Friday.

It is hoped the testing centre will make it easier for Sussex residents to access tests, with people having previously been advised by the government's website to travel as far as Cardiff and Leicester to find out if they had contracted the illness.

The Plumpton Racecourse testing centre will operate as a drive-through site and will be run by Sodexo - a private company which provides a range of services and is also the catering partner of Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

The Argus:

It will be open between 8am and 8pm every day of the week and have the capacity to provide an estimated 700 tests a day, but testing is only available for people with coronavirus symptoms - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Appointments must be booked in advance via the NHS website, NHS.uk/coronavirus, or by calling 119.

As at other sites, test will be carried out by collecting swab samples from potential coronavirus patients.

These are then secured and sent to laboratories for analysis and results.

Darrell Gale, director of public health for East Sussex, said: "This new site at Plumpton will help meet more of the demand for tests and is part of the Department for Health and Social Care’s efforts to increase testing capacity. 

The Argus:

"With sites in both the west and east of our county, we hope people with symptoms will have more options to check if they have the virus."

There are also testing sites at Gatwick and Tangmere, as well as a walk-through site in East Brighton Park.

And there could be more testing centres on the way in Sussex.

Mr Gale said: “With representatives of the national Test and Trace programme, we are also looking at options for further walk-in testing sites in East Sussex.”

“I’d like to reassure our local communities that they will not be exposed to greater risk from nearby testing centres.

"The way in which people access the sites are carefully controlled and where people can drive to sites, they can be tested without leaving their vehicles.

“We can all work together in East Sussex to restrict the virus in our communities. If you have symptoms, arrange a test as soon as you can, and self-isolate immediately you or others in your develop symptoms.

"Meanwhile, we should all follow NHS guidance on hand-washing, face-covering and keeping social distance.”

Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection said the new testing sites would “offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test”.

The Argus:

The site is part of a network of diagnostic testing facilities now made up of 76 drive-through sites, 137 walk-through sites, 258 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five mega laboratories.

Baroness Harding said: “This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

“Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

“Everybody should continue to think hands, face, space, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted – this is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life.”