Rapid Covid tests could get University of Northampton students home for Christmas

 Mass testing will begin at the university to help protect people most at risk over the festive break
Mass testing will begin at the university to help protect people most at risk over the festive break Credit: PA

A coronavirus testing programme for asymptomatic students will be launched at the University of Northampton, ahead of the Christmas holidays.

A temporary testing site will be set up in the university's sports centres from Monday 30 November, to help stop students spreading the virus on to loved ones over the festive period.

Testing will be available for students who live in halls of residence or private rented accommodation in Northamptonshire.

It's part of a government scheme to get students home safely for the winter break and help identify positive cases.

From 30 November, voluntary testing will be available for students Credit: ITV News Anglia

Students will be offered one of the new rapid lateral-flow tests (LFT), which involves taking a swab from the mouth and the nose.

The voluntary test can give a result within half an hour, without the need for a lab.

Last month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced lateral flow tests will be rolled out to schools and universities.

The new rapid lateral-flow tests. Credit: PA

The University says it will support students who need to isolate, including access to mental health services and care packages with food and essentials.

“It has been a significant task to convert our sports facilities into a temporary testing site, but we must do all we can to ensure our students who choose to go home over Christmas can do so as safely as possible", Becky Bradshaw, from the University of Northampton, said.

"Participation in the testing is completely voluntary, but we hope that families with relatives who are studying at the University will have peace of mind that – if that student has had negative results in the test – they are much more likely to return home with a greatly reduced risk to the people they love.

The university says the number of Covid cases has remained low throughout the pandemic.