THE University of York has launched mass coronavirus testing for students before they head home for the Christmas break.

The university is offering free Covid-19 rapid-result testing to students who want it at the Sports Centre on Campus West.

Today (Monday) was the first day mass testing has been carried out at the university and it will continue at the centre, by appointment only, until December 11.

Hundreds of tests have been conducted today, with more than 3,000 students booked in to be tested during the first week.

Ian Wiggins, who is involved in the organisation of the mass testing programme at the university, said: "I'm really happy with how things have gone so far. We've had a real surge of interest.

"It has been a brilliant team effort delivering this - a great bit of work by a group of staff from across the university."

The rapid-result tests are voluntary and are available for students with no Covid-19 symptoms who plan to head home for Christmas.

Students who plan to leave York and return home are advised to do so between this Thursday and December 9 in line with the Government's 'travel window.'

It is recommended that students have two tests, a few days apart, before leaving York and they should aim to leave within 24 hours of their second negative test.

The tests help students make an informed decision about how and when to travel.

Students who have symptoms or are self-isolating should not book a rapid-result test.

When students arrive at the Sports Centre, they are asked to show their email confirmation and student card on entry to receive their test kit. The test kit will have a QR code for them to scan.

They are then directed to a booth to complete the swab test. These are self-administered and guidance is provided.

Once students have taken their swab they have to deposit it at the test processing station.

They will receive their result within a few hours of taking their test by text and email from the NHS. This result is not shared with the University of York.