A new walk-through coronavirus testing facility at Shepherds Spring Lane car park in Andover is to open for those with symptoms to book appointments, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to continue to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for local communities.

 Testing is available only for those with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. From the start of the pandemic, testing has been prioritised for the most vulnerable, including patients in clinical settings and care home residents, vital health and care staff and to manage outbreaks. 

 The new site is situated so as to be easily accessible without a car but there are parking spaces available for those who need to drive. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre. 

 Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

 Testing at the new site will start on Saturday 16 January, with appointments made available each day. 

 The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, which now comprises drive-through sites, walk-through sites, mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and five mega laboratories. 

 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. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms. 

 Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North, said: “Vaccinations and mass testing are both absolutely pivotal in enabling us to navigate our way out of this pandemic. Having provided council-owned buildings to our NHS colleagues for the vaccination centres, I’m really pleased that we’ve also been able to provide this car park as a testing facility – which will enable users to both walk-up and drive to the site. Making it much easier for local residents to get a test.

 “While another national lockdown is tough to take, there is light at the end of the tunnel if we all pull together and do the right thing. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, then please do get tested and don’t risk passing it to your loved ones or others around you.”