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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Newbury Showground becomes Covid-19 testing site

Agricultural society 'pleased and proud' to have ground used for important facility

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Coronavirus West Berkshire: Newbury Showground becomes Covid-19 testing site

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility has opened at Newbury Showground.

The Hermitage site sits alongside the existing network of testing sites being set up around the UK. Testing at the showground started on Sunday.

Newbury and District Agricultural Society board of trustees chairman Alison Brown said: “Everyone connected with the Newbury and District Agricultural Society is pleased and proud to have our showground used in such an important way. Testing is so important for the community and nation.”

Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test at or by calling 119 to find out if they currently have coronavirus.  

The testing site at the showground follows capacity of the NHS/PHE laboratory network increasing, setting up 64 regional test centres and 116 mobile testing units, and introduced home testing kits.

Anyone testing positive for the virus 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.

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days.

Boots pharmacies advertised for 1,000 staff and volunteers to work at least 32 hours a week as Covid-19 testers across the UK.

A Boots UK spokesperson said: “Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Newbury is no exception. Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this Covid-19 testing station." 

National coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, Professor John Newton, said: “This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it.

"Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or more normal life.

“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries and businesses with the public sector to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”

In addition to the regional test sites, 116 mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces travel around the UK to further increase access to coronavirus testing. They respond to need, travelling to test at sites including care homes, police stations and prisons. New units are being brought into operation each day.

The Government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.

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