Edgbaston cricket ground to become drive-thru coronavirus testing site for NHS

Edgbaston Cricket Club is set to be changed into a coronavirus drive-thru testing site.

The stadium, which is home to Warwickshire Cricket Club, has a capacity of 25,000 and will become a temporary testing site after portacabins were installed and tents set up earlier this week.

It becomes one of the latest drive-thru testing sites, after Chessington World of Adventures and an IKEA car park were changed recently.

In a statement released by Warwickshire County Cricket Club, chief executive Neil Snowball said: “Whilst it is a small part to play in the grand scheme of things, we are pleased that our stadium can be utilised to support the fantastic efforts being made by all of our NHS staff in response to the coronavirus crisis.”

Home to one of England’s best crowd atmospheres in the cricket season, Edgbaston will be just 10 miles away from another centre assisting the fight against covid-19 as the National Exhibition Centre becomes a branch of the NHS Nightingale.

The transition comes after an outcry from workers within, and closely associated to, the NHS to be tested as soon as possible so they can return to the front line.

Latest figures say that just 5,000 of the 500,000-strong force have been tested for the virus.

Drive-thru testing centres received a small footfall on Thursday as just 75 people visited the Chessington facility.

Images shared online showed empty bays and testers waiting while wearing face masks and scarves.

Health secretary Matt Hancock is desperate to rapidly increase the number of tests undertaken.

Daily testing numbers for the virus were just 10,657 as of Wednesday – a staggeringly low comparison to Germany’s 70,000.

Hancock has promised 100,000 daily tests by the end of April as part of a five-point plan.

The strategy includes working alongside private labs to test NHS staff – as well as including the public to see if they are immune from the virus.

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