RODNEY Parade will be used as a testing station for front-line medical staff who are showing symptoms of Covid-19 coronavirus.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) said the drive-through Newport testing station was "fundamental during this time when the most vulnerable people need us most".

The testing station at the sports ground is not open to the public under any circumstances, and is only for front-line health workers who have symptoms of Covid-19.

ABUHB has asked members of the public to refrain from visiting the site and to follow government rules on staying at home.

The health board said the new testing policy for medical staff would "help us get our teams back in to work on the front line".

The Gwent region, covered by ABUHB, is the worst-hit area in Wales for Covid-19 infections.

Today, Public Health Wales announced a further 49 confirmed cases in Gwent in the past 24 hours, bring the total number of cases in the area to 358.

The true number of cases is likely to be higher.

ABUHB doctors have warned the public that the NHS would be overwhelmed if people did not listen to government advice to stay at home and practise social distancing.

They said Covid-19 spreads "like wildfire" and could infect and kill anyone regardless of their age or state of health.

"We ask that everyone practises the stay-at-home guidance and do not visit the [testing] site," he said. "We are operating an internal process to assess our staff that are showing symptoms of the virus and booking them in for an appointment for testing."

He added: "Everyone at ABUHB would like to thank the team at Rodney Parade for their community-focused approach and [for] accommodating us during these difficult times."

Dragons managing director Mark Jones said:  “The health service and care workers are doing an incredible job in such difficult circumstances, so we are happy to offer our help and support in any way we can.

“Playing our part in the local community is the at heart of what we’re about at the Dragons and in times of crisis people stick together to help their community.

“We would urge everyone to follow the latest NHS advice on protecting themselves from the virus, particularly to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.”