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No-symptoms testing: Two Covid test sites open tomorrow

Three more are due to open in county within the following seven days

Another five rapid-result coronavirus (Covid-19) testing sites for people who don’t have symptoms are opening in the county in addition to 19 centres already in operation.

The testing will find people who don’t currently have symptoms, who may be unknowingly spreading the virus in the community and the sites are part of a rolling programme to help reduce the rates of transmission in Kent.

In addition to sites already running across the county, people can book for tests using the link www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest at the following venues:

  • Sandwich Guildhall Museum, Cattle Market, Sandwich, CT13 9AH (open from today January 20);
  • Vestry Hall, Cranbrook, TN17 3HA (also open from January 20);
  • Ashford North Youth Centre, Marbledon Avenue, TN24 8BJ (open from January 22);
  • Conservative Club Gravesend, 193 Parrock Street, Gravesend, DA12 1EW (open from January 27, booking opens later this week)
  • Herne Centre, School Lane, Herne, CT6 7AP (open from January 27, booking opens later this week).

All 24 symptom-free testing sites will be open daily from 9am to 7pm. Children aged five and over can also be booked to take the test, but will need assistance at the site from a parent/carer. It is recommended that people are tested frequently, every two weeks if possible.

People booking tests should be advised that if possible, they will need a QR code app reader or the NHS app already installed on their mobile phone. Assistance is available at the sites for registration if needed.

Sites already operating include County Hall in Maidstone; the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood; Hawkinge Community Centre; Swanscombe Centre; Bat and Ball Centre in Sevenoaks; Halfway, Sheerness; Ramsgate Port; Northfleet Youth Club, Gravesend; Swanley Youth Club; Dover Discovery Centre; Folkestone Library; Eurogate Business Park, Ashford; Kent Show Ground, Detling; Kemsley Community Centre; The Centre, Birchington; Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury; Larkfield Library; Fairfield Leisure Centre, Dartford, and Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. The full list and addresses can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest

Once all 24 sites are open, there will be capacity for more than 20,000 tests across Kent per day. As of January 15, 93,862 tests had been conducted with 956 positive cases identified – a positivity rate of 1.02% – this means that these asymptomatic people now know to self-isolate which reduces the spread to others.

To book a test and for more information go to www.kent.gov.uk/symptomfreetest

Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within a couple of hours of attending the test by text or email. If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm their positive result. If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.

These sites are in addition to the regional and local testing sites for people who have symptoms. If you have symptoms you should NOT attend one of our symptom-free testing sites, but instead book a PCR test https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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