New Reading Covid testing centre to open next week at University of Reading

A new coronavirus testing centre will open in Reading next week.

The walk-in testing centre at the University of Reading will help people in Reading to get Covid-19 tests close to where they live.

Reading East MP Matt Rodda said some residents have had to go as far away as the Welsh valleys to get tests.

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Visitors will be able to access the centre by cycling or walking but not by car and you will not have to book in advance.

At a debate in parliament on test and trace Julia Lopez MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, announced the news.

She said: “I just want to let the honourable Member for Reading East know that we are going to be opening a testing site on the campus in Reading next week.”

Speaking earlier in the debate, Mr Rodda said: “In Reading, we have been waiting for some time for a new testing centre, and this is in a university town that is currently in the bottom tier but which could rapidly progress to the second tier or even the top tier if the spread is not arrested now.

“Students have been told that they will have to travel only 1.5 miles ​to the nearest testing centre, but in fact the nearest testing centre is in Newbury, which is more than 15 miles away.

“I know of residents of Reading who have had to go as far away as the Welsh valleys and Tewkesbury to get a test.

“Will she now investigate the need for speeding up the provision of a testing centre at the University of Reading?”

READ MORE: Reading Council to launch Covid tracing service to reach more people

Ms Lopez announced the news right at the end of Parliament’s opposition day debate on test and trace and so Mr Rodda was unable to respond.

But speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service afterwards, Mr Rodda, said: “I am pleased that the new testing centre is due to open next week, at a time when local residents and students urgently need more testing capacity.

“I hope that by raising this important issue with ministers on a number of occasions, Reading University and I have helped to push the government to speed up the opening of the centre.”

A spokesman for the University of Reading added: “We are grateful to all those working hard to bring a new testing site to the university, and for MP Matt Rodda for bringing this to the attention of ministers in Parliament.

“We welcome the Minister’s statement in response and will continue to work with partners, including Reading Borough Council and the local health agencies, on a new testing facility for the benefit of our students, staff, and the whole Reading community.”

Reading Chronicle