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Student testing kicks off

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By Fiona Reid
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Student testing kicks off

ACCESS to speedy Covid-19 testing is being provided from today (Monday) for further and higher education students looking to leave the region and go home for Christmas.

And returning students who will have been tested in their region of study before returning here are being encouraged to immediately access testing locally if they go on to experience any new symptoms of the coronavirus.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway public health consultant Andrew Rideout yesterday said: “Across Scotland, arrangements are being made to provide students in further education with access to voluntary Covid testing – timed to help enable them return to their home region for Christmas.

“From Monday, students travelling home at the end of term will be able to take voluntary coronavirus tests through their college or university.

“As part of a number of measures to support a safe return home, students are also being asked to take extra care in the period leading up to their departure, only going out for essential purposes such as learning, exercise and food shopping. This is to minimise the number of contacts they have with others and reduce the potential for spread of the virus.”

He went on: “In Dumfries and Galloway there are somewhere between 100 and 200 people who could be looking to leave the region and return home.

“Working with local universities and the college, we have put in place a testing programme for those students leaving the region.

“The universities and college have been working to identify all those to be offered a test, with testing set to begin on Monday.”

Addressing people from Dumfries and Galloway who are studying in other health board areas, Dr Rideout said: “We would encourage all students to access the voluntary testing available through their educational establishment before returning home to Dumfries and Galloway.

“However, we want to remind students and their families that access to a test continues to be available locally for anyone who experiences new symptoms, even if they have had a recent negative test elsewhere, and even if the symptoms appear mild.

“We continue to note that whilst these testing precautions will help, there are no guarantees around preventing the spread of covid. The coronavirus will be just as highly contagious and potentially dangerous at Christmas as it is at any other time of the year.”

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