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Procedure for Testing at Mobile Swabbing Station - 563/2020

August 21, 2020

The COVID-19 Mobile Swabbing Station has experienced a significant increase in attendances this week. In order to balance the need for a rapid public screening programme with routine sampling of frontline workers and the demand from the drive-thru referrals from the 111 line, the number of tests available at Mobile Swabbing Stations will be limited to 150 per day.

It is vital that those experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 do not attend a Mobile Swabbing Station. Anyone experiencing loss of taste, loss of smell, loss of appetite, persistent cough, shortness of breath, fever, a sore throat, headache, muscle aches/pains, extreme tiredness, loose bowel motions/upset tummy or any symptoms of a cold should go home immediately, self-isolate and call 111.

Everyone who is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should also go home immediately, self-isolate and call 111. It is important not to attend a Mobile Swabbing Station for a test in this scenario, as the virus may take up to 10 days to incubate in the body. This means that any test done before the 10 days self-isolation period is over might turn up a false negative, and you could spread the virus to your family and friends. If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, please call 111 straight away and follow their advice. You will be swabbed on day 10 of your self-isolation, which is when the most accurate result will be possible.

If you attend a Mobile Swabbing Station, you should have no symptoms and not be a close contact of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. After your swab, you should go home straight away and self-isolate until you receive your result. Results will be given over the phone within 24 hours.

Please wear a mask when queueing at a Mobile Swabbing Station, even though you feel well. This precautionary measure is the best way to protect yourself and others from asymptomatic spread of the virus.

HMGoG and Public Heath Gibraltar strongly recommend that members of the public download the BeatCOVID mobile app and leave it running in the background. It is a valuable tool for contact tracers and allows users to be notified at the earliest possible opportunity if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Minister with responsibility for Public Health, Prof John Cortes, said: ‘It is up to all of us to act responsibly and control the spread of the virus by following the rules. This means that if you have symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you should go home immediately, call 111 and follow the advice of the professionals. The Mobile Swabbing Stations and the BeatCOVID app are vital resources that we must use effectively and efficiently to find and stamp out the virus.’