A new coronavirus testing site has opened at County Hall in Kingston town centre as demand for tests surges amid a steady rise in cases in the borough and across the country.

Announcing the opening of the new testing site on Wednesday (September 30), Kingston Council (RBK) said it would be situated in the County Hall’s rear car park and “easily accessible” without a car for anyone who needed a test.

The opening of the new centre comes as RBK confirmed that demand for tests of people with coronavirus symptoms like new, continuous coughs, high temperatures and/or loss of taste or smell, was now “very high” in the area.

“There is now very high demand for coronavirus tests and it is vital we test people with these symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus and protect our community,” RBK’s Director of Public Health Iona Lidington said. 

“Finding positive cases and asking these people and their household to self isolate is key to breaking the chains of transmission, so we can keep Kingston safe and try to avoid the need for greater restrictions on daily life,” she added.

The latest data about coronavirus cases from Public Health England (PHE) showed that the positive cases referred to by Cllr Lidington are continuing to rise in Kingston.

Between September 19-September 25, at least 22 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the borough, including five new cases in Kingston East and Norbiton West, three cases in Kingston Riverside and four in Tolworth.

Meanwhile, PHE said this week that the infection ‘R’ rate for coronavirus has risen above 1 in London, as the virus continues to infect increasing numbers of people across the UK and around the world.

In its latest update on the rate at which new people become infected with the potentially deadly virus, PHE said that the R rate for London was somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5.

“An R number between 1.2 and 1.5 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people,” a spokesperson pointed out.

RBK underlined Wednesday that it was “vital” for people with symptoms to get tested as they touted the new “walk-through” testing site in the town centre as a good option:

“It is still vital that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms gets tested. By increasing the testing capacity within our borough through the new site, we want to make it easier for all residents who have symptoms to access a test quickly,” Cllr Lidington said.

The new site is situated in the rear car park of County Hall, and is located to be easily accessible without a car. It is open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, RBK said.

Those visiting the site for testing will be required to follow “stringent” public health measures, including “social distancing, wearing face coverings, practising good personal hygiene and not travelling by taxi or public transport, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.”

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