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Oxford's Universities roll out rapid Covid-19 tests to help students travel home safely for Christmas

The 'Lateral Flow Tests' will only be available to students who do not have symptoms.

The aim of the rapid testing, before students return home, is to prevent the spread of coronavirus to friends, families and the community.

The tests will begin on Oxford Brookes campuses this weekend and at Oxford colleges by 30 November. 

They are designed to identify asymptomatic people and will be used across England as part of the mass testing plan after a pilot in Liverpool.

It uses similar technology to a pregnancy test and can provide a result within 15 minutes.

The Universities will advise students to get tested twice, three days apart. Once they have received two negative test results they are advised to return home.

Linda King, Professor of Virology and Pro Vice-Chancellor - Research and Global Partnerships at Oxford Brookes University, said: "Breaking the chain of transmission is key to controlling the virus. We're strongly encouraging students to take these tests to help stop the spread of the virus, protect family and friends and save lives." 
 
Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education, at the University of Oxford said: "Oxford University's end of term testing programme is an unprecedented and concerted effort across the University and colleges to help ensure students protect their families and friends.

"It's an important part of our arrangements for the end of term, which we are confident will allow students to leave Oxford in a safe and orderly way to spend time at home."

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: "Oxford's two universities have worked effectively together alongside the Director of Public Health and the City and County Councils to help bring down the number of COVID-19 cases among students.

"I welcome today's announcement of their test and travel approach which will enable students to join their families and be safely united for Christmas.

"The staggered departure arrangements will be a relief to local residents as it should help minimise travel disruption in the city."
 
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: "The universities and students are a very important part of the community of Oxford.

"Our Public Health team is working closely with both universities and Oxford City Council to ensure that students can return home safely to spend the Christmas period with their families.

"The testing that will be in place, together with the planned phased departure of students from the city, will help reduce the risk of transmission, and it is another example of how our organisations are working together closely to respond to COVID-19."

Most in-person teaching will finish on 4 December at Oxford's universities.

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