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Gatwick car park to become coronavirus testing centre

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Gatwick car park to become coronavirus testing centre

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 10:58am 8th April 2020. (Updated at 2:49pm 8th April 2020)

Gatwick Airport is converting its long-stay car park into a coronavirus testing centre.

It will initially be used for NHS staff and invited key workers but is set to expand that to all as soon as possible.

The drive-through site will be available from today between 9am and 5pm daily, on an appointment-only basis.

Gatwick Long Stay Car Park

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's chief executive officer, said they were happy to help:

"We are pleased to support the national effort against the spread of the coronavirus by allowing Gatwick facilities to be used as a vital testing centre for frontline health workers.  

"We have the space available at Gatwick to be able to host such a large-scale operation.

"Alongside keeping the airport open to support repatriation flights, amongst others, we are happy to be able to support the NHS, Government and the country in whatever way we can."

Health minister Lord Bethell said the new scheme would help to boost testing capacity to protect the vulnerable, support the NHS and ultimately save lives:

"This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff need to stay at home meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.  

"This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed."

The airport closed its North Terminal last week due to a substantial drop in the number of flights in response to the outbreak.

Both British Airways and easyJet have grounded all their planes and furloughed staff for at least the next two months.