A new testing centre has opened at the University of Reading (UoR) for students to get rapid Covid tests before going home for Christmas.

The temporary coronavirus testing centre will open at 10am this morning at the SportsPark Sports Hall at the Whiteknights campus.

Students who are asymptomatic will be able to get rapid tests from today until the end of term on November 11, Monday to Friday from 10am-6pm.

READ MORE: Reading areas with the MOST and LEAST cases by week

Professor Parveen Yaqoob, UoR’s deputy vice-chancellor, is leading the team in planning and delivering the testing service.

She said: “We hope that this testing facility will provide some additional reassurance for those students who are returning home to their families over the Christmas break.

“Many dedicated members of staff have also been working on campus to continue delivering teaching and research, and all the many services that support our students and keep our campus running, and they can also benefit from the reassurance of this test.

“I would like to thank the incredible team that has come together in recent days to deliver this service.

“Universities are used to using science and coming up with innovative ideas, but this is the first mass testing system we have built from scratch.

“The fact that we have done this in such a short time is a testament to the skills and commitment of my colleagues.”

READ MORE: School asks year group to stay at home following Covid case

The testing centre will also be open from 11am-4pm this Saturday (November 5).

Staff who have been working on campus are also invited to take a test from December 7.

The lateral flow swab tests take about 20-30 minutes to process and students/staff will be notified within one hour of the tests being processed, meaning it will take a maximum of 90 minutes to get results.

Students and staff will get at least one test but are advised to get a second test three days later to confirm a negative is not a false negative.

They are advised to leave within 24 hours of getting their final test, whether they are getting one test or two.

108 universities have signed up to do the rapid testing, with 30 not taking part.

Parveen Yaqoob, deputy vice chancellor at UoR, explained why.

She said: “We were only given two weeks to set this up and not much more than a week from when guidance was issued, including ordering cubicles and recruiting staff.

“These guys have been working all hours over the weekend.”

She said the positivity rate will likely be somewhere between one and six per cent, based on pilots at two other universities.

How does it work?

Students and staff will first sign up online for a time slot.

Entering the building, they will go straight into the hall and register with their QR codes at desks.

They will then go to get their swabs done in one of 20 booths.

Each booth should have capacity to test about six people every hour.

If students test positive, they will have to take a PCR test at the London Road campus test centre, which is available to all members of the public.

These tests take longer to get results but are more reliable.

For more information, visit the university’s coronavirus information pages or call the University Covid-19 helpline on 0118 0118 214 7813.

The helpline is open 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 11am to 4pm at weekends.