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New Covid-19 asymptomatic testing site starts at Plymouth Marjon University

Released: 25.11.20

  • Government backed asymptomatic test site to open at Plymouth Marjon campus to help protect people most at risk.
  • Partnership between Plymouth Marjon University and NHS Test and Trace, to work towards returning life to as normal as possible. 
  • Testing of students and staff to begin on 30 November.

An asymptomatic testing site of lateral flow tests is launching at Plymouth Marjon University campus in Derriford, as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of mass testing. 

Plymouth Marjon University is working with NHS Test & Trace to set up an on-campus asymptomatic testing site so that students without symptoms, who may be infectious but unaware, are able to get tested. They will be asked to self isolate if they are infectious, or reassured quickly if they are not.  

From 30 November to 9 December, testing will be available at the Marjon campus in Derriford for students and staffThe testing site is being delivered in partnership with Marjon and will offer self-swab tests.  From the start of the pandemic, the Government has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight coronavirus.  

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Processing of these tests can be conducted at a dedicated testing site by trained personnel and can rapidly turn around results within an hour.  

Use of lateral flow tests could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. Asymptomatic testing will help to protect those at high risk, fight the virus and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible.  

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.   

Anyone with symptoms should follow the guidance online on how to book a PCR testor call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm.  

The government is working closely with universities to get asymptomatic university students tested during the first week of December in order to help students return home safely for Christmas.  Testing will help to break the chain of transmission amongst students especially when they are infected but are not aware of it and help to ensure the safety of their loved ones at home.​ 

Students will be encouraged to get tested twice during the first week of December using Lateral Flow Devices. If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately. Should a student test positive they will receive a confirmatory PCR and have to self-isolate for 10 days, still with enough time to return home for Christmas.  

Before travelling home students are advised to: book travel in advance, avoid busy times and routes and check their journey in advance to avoid disruptions. If driving only travel with members of your household or support bubble, and follow safer travel advice (link) safety guidelines. On public transport it is important that travellers wear a face covering  unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep 2m distance where possible.  

Health Minister Lord Bethell said:​ “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster. 

“Innovations such as lateral flow technology hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.  

“I’m delighted that universities are working with us to uselateral flow technology, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, in helping students return home for Christmas and to return to a normal way of life as soon as possible.”​ 

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 with over 32 million tests processed so far.  

“The work of Plymouth Marjon University will be essential in helping us explore the benefits of new technology. 

“This ATS is one of many which will lay the foundations for the next phase of NHS Test and Trace – mass testing - which will allow us to test even more people, even more quickly.” 

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year. 

“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’. But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”  

Plymouth Marjon University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rob Warner, said: 

We are delighted that our team could offer this testing capability to provide reassurance for those students who wish to travel to another household for Christmas. We are committed to offering our students a safe, enjoyable university experience and this is part of many measures to ensure their long term success.”  

For media enquiries about the mass testing programme please

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