United Kingdom

Chessington car park transformed into drive-through coronavirus testing facility

A theme park is being used as a drive-through coronavirus testing facility for frontline NHS workers.

Thousands of doctors and nurses are being tested at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, where a facility has been set up in the car park.

Six lanes have been set up at the children’s entertainment park for health workers to drive in to from the main road.

Signs for testing instructions as temporary buildings are erected for coronavirus testing for NHS workers in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington, Greater London on Friday

Portacabins can be seen set up along the road today for NHS staff to drive past and be tested for the deadly coronavirus

They stay in their cars as medics in protective clothing take a swab from their nose and throat to be tested for Covid 19.

It is understood Chessington is one of a number of new sites preparing to take samples from NHS workers, allowing those who test negative to return to work.

A source told The Sun: ‘This is what the public, the experts and the medics have been crying out for in the past few weeks.

‘Testing is so important and, if this helps the heroes on the frontline do their jobs, it could be a massive game-changer.’

Pictured: The temporary buildings and portacabins that have been erected for testing NHS workers for the deadly coronavirus in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures today in Chessington, Greater London

Testing of frontline staff has become a contentious issues in the weeks since the coronavirus began sweeping through the UK.  

NHS England's medical director earlier this week warned testing must be ramped up to hundreds of thousands per day to catch up with the crisis. 

In the UK routine tests are only given to people so ill they have to go into hospital, or those who are already on wards - even NHS staff don't get tested. 

Pictured: Chessington World Of Adventures resembles a ghost town after being forced to close today under government instruction due to Coronavirus on 21 March, 2020

It means the official tally of coronavirus patients is much lower than the reality.   

On 19 March UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed a dramatic escalation of the country's coronavirus testing capacity.  

After days of intense pressure, the PM said the number of tests carried out per day would increase from around 5,000 to 25,000, and NHS staff would be prioritised.

However, the full 'surge capacity' might not be ready for another four weeks - by which time the deadly crisis could be at its peak.  

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