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NHS staff line up for the new coronavirus testing facility in Gateshead

A new coronavirus testing centre for NHS frontline staff has opened in Gateshead.

NHS workers could be seen queuing to use the drive-thru facility in the car park of IKEA, after it opened this morning.

Testing is for frontline health care staff - initially primary care and social care workers, on an invitation-only basis.

People who turn up without an invitation will not be tested.

An IKEA spokeswoman said:

We are enormously proud of the NHS and proud to support them and the government in this small way. We will continue to support them in the best way we can."

– IKEA spokeswoman
The testing centre is invitation only initially. Credit: NCJ Media

The Gateshead store, on Pinetree Way, is the latest to host NHS test centres in its car park after the Swedish furniture giant's flagship store in Wembley was first announced on March 31.

The retailer said it was working alongside the government to identify any additional IKEA sites which could be use to help the fight against coronavirus.

IKEA, Gateshead Credit: NCJ Media

Prioritising those leading relief efforts and the needs of high-risk groups, we are also working on additional plans together with the NHS, the Red Cross and our charity partners Barnardo’s and Breaking Barriers to support our communities, both now and in the longer-term."

– IKEA spokeswoman

The government plans to test 100,000 people per day by the end of April. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the five pillars of the plan would see a "ramping up" of testing capabilities across the UK.

The testing facility is in the carpark of IKEA's Gateshead store. Credit: NCJ Media

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