Officials have explained why a walk-in coronavirus test centre has opened in the centre of Barry and given reassurances about its safety.

The temporary test centre, which opened on November 5 and is scheduled to be in operation for seven days, is based in the Art Central Gallery that is next to the Barry Library premises in Barry Town Hall, King Square.

Fiona Kinghorn, executive director of Public Health for Cardiff and the Vale, said: “There have been 185 new cases of Covid-19 in the Vale of Glamorgan in the last seven days and the rate at which new cases are being diagnosed has been rising steadily.

“The decision to place a testing unit within the town was taken to ensure that everyone who needed a test was able to get one and its central location was chosen specifically to make it as easy as possible for people to attend.”

The walk-in nature of the site means it can be used by people who do not have a car.

She added: “It is vitally important that everyone who needs a test gets one. This is the only way that we can track and contain the virus, and is the way in which we can all work together to protect our families and communities.”

When the opening of the centre was reported by the Barry & District News last week, some readers voiced concerns about the choice of location.


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Reader Tom Williams commented: “What a mad idea. So someone who could have it needs to walk through town to get a test and spread it on even more.”

Another resident, Emma Christopher, said: “Yes let's put a walk-in centre right in the middle of the area with the most footfall. Surely the Civic Offices car park or the Dock Office’s car park where there's less people moving about would've made more sense and a central location.”

Vale and Barry Town Councillor, Cllr Ian Johnson, who represents the town centre, said he would have preferred a different location.

“The testing centre location should have been somewhere equally central with car parking spaces, but without the shops and other people and attractions nearby – the Vale Civic Offices and their car park, for example,” he said.

But he added: “We’re in the middle of a pandemic so it’s very important that people act responsibly, get tested if appropriate and follow the rules throughout.”

Ms Kinghorn directly addressed those concerns.

“There is no risk of those attending for tests passing on the virus to the wider public as long as everyone continues to observe the standard guidance – wash your hands regularly, keep more than two metres apart and wear a mask when indoors in a public place,” she said.

A number of measures are in place to ensure safety at the temporary testing centre.

While it is a walk-in unit, with capacity for 200 tests a day, people have to make an appointment, either by booking online or by phone in advance.

Therefore large queues are not expected, however if they did happen, staff are on hand to manage it.

Staff are also posted outside the next door library building to direct those coming for a test to the correct entrance.

A one-way system is in place within the unit to ensure social distancing is maintained at all times. Those coming for tests will enter via the entrance to the gallery on King Square and exit via the rear doors into Central Park.

As with all other indoor public spaces masks are mandatory within the testing unit.

Once the seven-day period ends, the centre could be closed, extended or moved.

Ms Kinghorn said: “Depending on the number of appointments booked in the first seven days, we may look to move the testing unit to another location in the Vale.”

People showing symptoms should book a tests in the normal way by calling 119 or online at