A CORONAVIRUS testing centre has been opened at Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s airbase to allow pilots, paramedics and their families around the county to take a swab test.

The facility in Semington will be open from 10am to 4pm on weekdays and will provide an easy way for lifesaving frontline employees of the South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust to check if they have the contagious disease.

Air ambulance pilots, paramedics and staff can also use the centre.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance critical care paramedic and operations officer Ben Abbott said: “Ambulance service staff who have family members with symptoms are required to isolate, stopping them from doing their job.

“This testing centre will allow those staff members and their families to take a test.

"If the test comes back negative, the staff member won’t have to isolate and can continue working on the front line in these unprecedented times.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is solely the host for the testing centre. A crew from the ambulance service trust will operate the drive-through facility which will allow people to take the test without needing to leave their cars.

The trust's deputy county commander for Wiltshire Jane Whichello said: “We are grateful for Wiltshire Air Ambulance to allow us to use their facilities for this important testing which will help us return our colleagues to work and keep ambulances on the road to serve the people of Wiltshire.”

The testing centre will be an appointment-based service and those being tested will be selected and approached by SWASFT.

Critical care paramedics are still attending emergencies from the airbase and taking precautions when they arrive at the scene of the call to protect patients and themselves.

The airbase and the charity's network of shops are closed to the public for the duration of the lockdown.

Fundraising events organised in a bid to generate enough money to keep the WAA's helicopters flying and commemorate its 30th anniversary have been postponed until June.

The charity team is running with a limited staff base, all working from home.

Charity staff can be contacted by email via hello@wiltshireairambulance.co.uk.