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Robert Halfon MP and Harlow Council leader joint statement on Harlow COVID-19 testing site

Harlow Council / Thu 7th May 2020 am31 09:53am

Robert Halfon MP and Harlow Council Leader Joint Statement on Harlow COVID-19 Testing Site

LATE last week, it was confirmed to Robert Halfon MP by Essex County Council that there will be a Covid-19 testing site in Harlow. The news came after a joint cross-party effort from Robert Halfon MP and the leader of Harlow Council, Mark Ingall.

Robert Halfon has been working hard to get more testing for Harlow. Following a letter from Cllr Ingall with concerns about the accessibility of the Stansted Airport testing site, Mr Halfon agreed to write a joint letter to the Government to call for a test centre in Harlow. Together, they had already written to the West Essex CCG and Chief Executive at the Princess Alexandra NHS Hospital to identify a preferred site in the town that would not place additional pressure on NHS staff.

The day before the news came from Essex County Council that Harlow would have a testing site, Mr Halfon had questioned the leader of ECC and officials about the issue.

Both Cllr Ingall and Mr Halfon have been actively campaigning for more testing and PPE for Harlow residents, particularly for those working so hard to save lives on the frontline, social care workers and vulnerable people. Mr Halfon has also written to Ministers calling for a timescale for the rollout of testing in Harlow.

As part of its five-pillar testing strategy, the Government has now expanded Covid-19 testing to all NHS and social care workers and patients, as well as symptomatic key workers and over-65s, and their households.

The Harlow site will form part of the Government’s network of test centres across the country, made up of regional, satellite, NHS and mobile testing areas.

Commenting on the news, Mr Halfon said: “We know that what people in Harlow need most right now is certainty. This new testing site in Harlow will mean that our incredible frontline NHS staff, key workers, those in adult social care and public services, will be able to easily get a test and find out if it is safe for them to resume normal life. It will also help us understand the traction of the virus in our town and enable us to plan our recovery when it is safe to do so.

“I think that this is a good example of our two political parties working together for Harlow, in a constructive way, achieving positive results.”

Cllr Mark Ingall said: “The World Health Organisation has said that the key to defeating the virus is testing, testing and more testing, therefore I welcome the recent increases in testing for COVID19 and would urge that we go even further, increasing testing to the levels seen in other developed countries. However the tests are only effective if they are accessible and Stansted was inaccessible to many Harlow residents, particularly to the most vulnerable, hence the importance of Robert and I working together to get a test centre sited here in Harlow. ”

Details of the mobile testing site are likely to be released in the coming days.

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