A NEW walk-in testing facility for people with coronavirus symptoms has opened at the University of Essex.

The new facility, located in a car park at the university's Wivenhoe campus, is open to students but also to the wider community.

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus - a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - can book a test online or by calling 119.

The new site is situated close to bus routes and can also be access by car and tests will be self-administered by patients.

Those being tested are 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, while travelling to and from the testing centre.

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

Health Minister Lord James Bethell said: "We continue to expand testing to make sure that everyone with symptoms can get a test, with our new walk-in sites making it even easier no matter where you live.

“This new site forms part of our national testing network, which has the capacity to test more than a million people a week and is growing all the time.

“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, I urge you to book a test today and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted to protect others around you and stop the spread of the virus.”

Testing began on site yesterday, with a number of appointments available each day going forward.

The university site is one of more than 500 testing sites set up across the UK and one of 235 walk-in test centres in Britain.

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: "Our new walk through sites offer communities better access to coronavirus testing, so everyone with symptoms can get a test.

"This new site is part of our ongoing work to expand testing across the UK to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

“Please book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms: a new continuous cough, a high temperature and a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

“Everybody should continue to think hands, face, space, and follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace if you are contacted – this is the only way we can return to a more normal way of life.”

The test centre is being run in conjunction with Serco.

You can book a test online by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.