Government announcements have made clear that testing for COVID-19 infection has recently been opened up to a wider range of key workers and their family members who are self-isolating with symptoms. The nearest Regional Testing Centre for residents of Harlow is at Stansted airport and details of how to apply for a test and who is now eligible can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.
Councillor Mark Ingall commenting on this said “The scientific advice from the World Health Organisation is that testing, testing and more testing is the key to successfully defeating the Covid19 virus, easing the lockdown and restoring the freedoms of our residents.
“I welcome the ramping up of testing and the opening up of testing availability to more key workers, including care workers and family members who have symptoms. This is particularly welcome given the number of key workers who live and work in our town. However I am concerned that the nearest testing centre to Harlow is 10 miles away in Stansted, which is very difficult to get to without a car. This means that for many residents the centre is inaccessible. The only option left for them is to order a “home testing kit” and for the fourth consecutive day the Government’s testing website has shown that these have run out within a few minutes of the website opening.
“Many of Harlow’s residents may have been exposed to the virus through their magnificent efforts working at Princess Alexandra Hospital and in the many care homes spread across our town.
“I am certain residents and key workers across Essex would find testing more accessible, and therefore there would be a higher uptake of tests, if smaller testing centres were spread across the county. Therefore I have written to Harlow’s MP Robert Halfon and the Minister Robert Jenrick to ask that they will consider advocating for a testing centre in Harlow.”