One of Andover’s Covid testing sites is set to close as at-home testing is rolled out across the county.

The lateral flow testing site at Picket Twenty Sports Ground, for those without symptoms, is to be closed from Friday, April 30, as Hampshire County Council instead turns its focus to providing tests directly to members of the public, with kits available to collect from 12 pharmacies across Andover.

Hampshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, called for people to take regular tests twice a week as a way of “helping us to get back to a more normal way of life.”

The rapid testing centre at Picket Twenty Sports Ground was announced on February 17, with the county council rolling out lateral flow testing to sites across the country. These tests detect those who have contracted the coronavirus, but are one of around 40 per cent who do not have symptoms.

Plans were approved on February 22 and the centre opened the next day on February 23. Visitors to the centre were asked to give their details before taking a swab of their nose and throat. The results of the test were then sent around 30 minutes after being taken.

Picket Twenty Sports Ground Covid Test Centre

Picket Twenty Sports Ground Covid Test Centre

The centre was due to be open for six weeks, and will have been opened for over nine when it closes on April 30. The symptomatic Covid test centre, in Shepherds Spring Lane car park, will remain open for testing and for the collection of lateral flow test kits.

Once the centre is closed, members of the public will be able to take tests at pharmacies across the area. 11 are taking part in Andover, as well as one for each of Whitchurch, Overton, Ludgershall and Tidworth. Tests can be carried out by staff, or free kits can be collected after being ordered online.

Simon Bryant said: “Rapid testing on a regular basis gives us all peace of mind that we are not putting our family, friends, co-workers or communities at risk, and pharmacies offer a quick and convenient means of getting a test or collecting a kit to self-test at home. Make test-record-repeat part of your weekly routine to help suppress the spread of the virus and protect the people around you.

“I would remind everyone that a positive result from a lateral flow test means you must follow self-isolation guidance and book a follow-up PCR test as soon as possible. If you have a negative result from a lateral flow test, you must still follow ‘hands, face, space’ guidance. Alongside the COVID vaccine, these basic behaviours and regular testing are the most effective ways of keeping infection rates down and getting us safely on the road to a summer of freedoms.”

To find out your nearest participating pharmacy for lateral flow testing, click here: