New Covid-19 test centre opens in Tower Hamlets

A new government run Covid-19 local test centre opened today (Friday 18 September) in Tower Hamlets, to help increase testing capacity for the borough’s residents. 

The local testing centre is located at the Idea Store Watney Market in Shadwell. Its central location will help improve access to tests for residents without a car, or those unable to travel long distances. 

Testing at the unit will be offered on an appointment only basis.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 which include a high temperature, a new or continuous cough or a loss or change to their normal sense of smell or taste, should book an appointment online or by calling 119. 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Although the national testing programme is experiencing capacity issues at present, testing remains one of the most important ways of reducing the spread of Covid-19. This is why we have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care to support the development of local sites. At the same time, I have lobbied the Secretary of State for Health to ensure we have adequate numbers of tests for our residents as at present we are a far cry from the government’s pledge for a ‘world-beating’ testing system. 

“With an increase in cases of Covid-19 in our borough, a trend being seen across London and nationally, this local site will make it easier for our residents to access testing closer to home.”  

Tests are available to anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, with capacity reserved for vulnerable groups such as the very elderly and people with disabilities. 

Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s vital that this new test centre adds much needed local testing capacity for our community. Our plans to keep schools and front-line public services open rely on an effective testing system.

“Please remember, when you’re attending a testing site with symptoms of Covid-19 do not use public transport or taxis, practice good hand hygiene, wear a face covering and keep a safe distance from other people. This will help keep everyone safe.”

It’s vital that all residents continue to follow public health advice – remember hands, face, space:

  • Wash hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitiser. 
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other enclosed areas, or anywhere it is difficult to socially distance. 
  • Keep a safe distance from other people outside your household (two metres where possible). 
  • Follow the rule of six by not meeting with people from other households socially in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, including in private homes. 
  • Book a free test if you’re experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 and stay at home until you get your result.  
  • Stay at home if you test positive for 10 days from when symptoms started. This includes while symptomatic and waiting to arrange a test. 
  • Self-isolate if you’re identified as a close or recent contact of someone who has tested positive through NHS Test and Trace. 

Work is ongoing to identify further sites in the borough where local testing units can be set up.  

Posted on Friday 18th September 2020