UCL News


UCL to offer Covid-19 testing for staff and students

16 September 2020

UCL has today announced plans to introduce up to 1,000 Covid-19 tests a day for staff and students who experience coronavirus symptoms.

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The move is the culmination of several months' work by teams across UCL working in collaboration with our diagnostic laboratory partner Health Services Laboratories (HSL). The expansion programme will be overseen by UCL’s world-leading clinicians and researchers who are currently working on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic and advising Government.

UCL has already established a Covid-19 antigen testing facility which is led by a team from the UCL Cancer Institute. This facility has delivered a successful pilot testing programme at the Paul O’Gorman Building for a limited number of staff. Based on the pilot, this testing capacity will now be expanded in line with the Government's recent guidance for universities.

The university is aiming to provide up to 1,000 tests every day for symptomatic staff and students across UCL by the start of term on 28th September. At the current time, testing of asymptomatic staff or students will only be undertaken where our public health advisers consider this appropriate, and will not be offered routinely.

UCL’s testing programme is designed to complement the national testing service. Anyone who tests positive for the virus will be automatically referred to the NHS Track and Trace system as normal.

UCL will also launch tomorrow ‘Connect to Protect’, an online tool for staff and students to notify the university if they think they may have coronavirus. This will help our community report any cases so we can monitor and respond appropriately.

UCL will continue to work closely with Camden and Islington public health teams, the London Coronavirus Response Cell and NHS Track and Trace to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken when positive cases of Coronavirus are confirmed by testing.

UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur said: “Our aim is to complement the national testing service, not replace it. Anyone who tests positive for the virus will be referred to the NHS Track and Trace system as normal.

“By combining UCL's additional testing provision and our new ‘Connect to Protect’ reporting tool - together with the national systems already in place - we can make sure our campus is as safe as possible for everyone. These new initiatives will augment the wide range of safety measures that we have already introduced.

“The limited face-to-face activity that has been planned for next term will take place within these guidelines and we will monitor the number of any positive coronavirus cases at UCL very carefully. We are also continuing to follow the latest advice from our public health experts and Government guidance, and we will adapt our response depending on regional and national developments as they emerge.”