- Government-backed asymptomatic testing site to open on the University of Sussex’s campus in Falmer, to help protect people most at risk
- Partnership between University of Sussex and NHS Test and Trace, to work towards going back to as normal a way of life as possible.
- Testing of students to begin on Monday 30 November
An asymptomatic testing site (ATS), using lateral flow tests, is launching at the University of Sussex in Falmer, as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of mass testing. The University of Sussex is working with NHS Test and Trace to set up an on-campus ATS so that students without symptoms, who may be infectious but unaware, are able to get tested and asked to self-isolate if they are, or reassured quickly if they are not. From Monday 30 November testing will be available for any University of Sussex student without symptoms. Testing will be held daily until 11 December at the Sport Centre on campus, between 10am and 6pm. For more information visit the student web pages.
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. I’m deligited 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.
From the start of the pandemic, the Government has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight coronavirus. The testing site at the University’s campus in Falmer is being delivered in partnership with the University of Sussex and will offer self-swab tests. Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Processing of these tests can be conducted at a dedicated testing site by trained personnel and can rapidly turn around results within an hour. Use of lateral flow tests could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. Asymptomatic testing will help to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible.
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said:
NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 with over 32 million tests processed so far. The work of the University of Sussex in Falmer will be essential in helping us explore the benefits of lateral flow technology. This ATS is one of many which will lay the foundations for the next phase of NHS Test and Trace – mass testing – which will allow us to test even more people, even more quickly.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission. Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. Anyone with symptoms should follow the guidance online on how to book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm. The government is working closely with universities to get asymptomatic university students tested during the first week of December in order to help students return home safely for Christmas. Testing will help to break chain of transmission amongst students especially when they are infected but are not aware of it and help to ensure the safety of their loved ones at home.
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 safety guidelines. On public transport it is important that travellers wear a face covering, unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep 2m distance where possible. All students are urged to get tested if it is available at their university to help protect themselves and keep their friends, families and home communities as safe as possible when returning home this Christmas.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, Adam Tickell, said:
The vast majority of students want to do the right thing and we are determined to provide this peace of mind for them, before they travel home at the end of a tough year. We have been working incredibly hard with government and public health officials to get ready for testing to begin and we are confident that we can provide this for any Sussex student who wants it. This is the perfect opportunity for our community to come together as we look ahead with hope to the new year.
Source: University of Sussex