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‘Take testing to people’ plan sees military staffing Norfolk and Waveney sites

PUBLISHED: 15:08 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:18 04 May 2020

A coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' Roberts

A coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' Roberts

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British Army soldiers are staffing coronavirus testing points across Norfolk and Waveney as part of a plan to “take testing to people”.

A coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' RobertsA coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' Roberts

The 2nd battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment carried out testing on Monday at the Meadows car park in Cromer, following sessions in Lowestoft, Diss and Thetford over the previous few days.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the mobile centres were part of a plan to “take testing to the people”, and there were now 92 mobile sites across the country being staffed by the military, he said.

He said: “The idea that at the end of the day you were having to get in a car and drive an hour to a fixed place of testing, when maybe no one was going to pay you for that time to do it or indeed when you were very tired, was just unrealistic.”

The mobile testing stations can only be visited by people who have booked a slot, and who are considered eligible.

A coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' RobertsA coronavirus testing station in the Meadows car park, Cromer. Mobile stations have been based in towns around Norwfolk and Waveney. Picture: Dave 'Hubba' Roberts

The mobile testing site will move to Fakenham on Tuesday, May 5.

Appointments must be booked via the national portal: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

Essential workers such as NHS staff, care home staff and teachers also have the choice to book a test at three other permanent centres in Norfolk - James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, Centrum Centre near the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.

MORE: Coronavirus facts and figures

But appointments for these locations cannot be booked using the national portal, they must be booked using a local system.

Those eligible can also request a home testing kit.

Mr Wallace has also spoken about face masks, and said the government was trying to source as many as possible in case they recommended the public wear them.

He said: “It’s not the amazing thing if you wear a mask that no one’s going to get it but there is obviously this issue about human nature and interactions if you go on public transport and wear a mask will you feel able to go back to work.

“At the same time, to anticipate should different rules be made around masks we’re trying to source as many masks as possible as we speak and have been for the last few weeks.”


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