UEL opens Covid-19 testing site

The University of East London Docklands campus

The University of East London has opened a Covid-19 testing centre for students and staff. - Credit: Google Maps

The University of East London has opened a coronavirus testing site in a bid to help students  get home safely for Christmas.

The results of tests taken at the facility at Sports Dock at the university's Docklands campus should be available on the same day.

If results come back negative, students and staff will be advised to return home as soon as possible while anyone testing positive will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days.

UEL says this will still allow them enough time to travel for the holidays. 

Professor Sally Cutler, medical microbiologist and UEL’s clinical lead at the centre, said: “There is still so much we can do  to continue to flatten the rate of virus transmission before a vaccine becomes widely available.

"The goal for the University of East London’s testing centre is to empower our students and staff to do what they can to protect our communities and help keep their loved ones safe.”

The centre, which is expected to remain open until December 7, is manned by School of Health, Sport and Bioscience students, along with support and administrative staff.

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Dr Ian Pickup, pro vice chancellor and chief operating officer, said: “The centre not only strengthens our commitment to keeping the UEL community safe, but provides opportunities for healthcare and bioscience students to gain frontline clinical work.

“The university is determined to support students and staff as the year draws to a close, especially for those returning home for the holidays.”

The government has been asked to stagger the return of students to campuses in January, according to a Press Association report.

The Labour Party has called on ministers to allow students on placements - or whose face-to-face teaching is essential - to return to campus first, with others following later.

The plea came ahead of a seven-day "travel window" in England - where university students can return home for Christmas from Thursday until December 9.

The government has pledged to issue more guidance on the spring term, which could involve use mass testing.