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COVID-19 testing options

Free Covid-19 testing has now ended


Covid-19 testing for the general public has now ended under the government`s Living with Covid policy. Lateral flow tests are available for purchase from pharmacies and online.

All testing sites that were operating in Tower Hamlets are closed from 1 April. Everyone is encouraged to continue following simple steps to stay safe:

  • Get vaccinated – protect yourself and others
  • Ventilate your space – ventilate and let fresh air inside
  • Wear a face covering – especially if you are around people outside your household
  • Wash your hands regularly – for at least 20 seconds

If you feel unwell, have symptoms of Covid-19 or have tested positive, the NHS advises that you stay at home for at least five days. Testing will remain available for frontline health and care staff and some vulnerable patients.

Vaccinations – first, second and booster doses – are still widely available across Tower Hamlets at vaccine centres, pharmacies and community spaces. Anyone who needs advice or support around vaccination can call the council’s vaccine helpline on 020 7364 3030.

Symptomatic Covid-19 testing will still be available to the following groups:

  • patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care and to provide access to treatments and to support ongoing clinical surveillance for new variants
  • people who are eligible for community Covid-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms as well as being told how to reorder tests
  • people living or working in some high-risk settings. For example, staff in adult social care services such as homecare organisations and care homes, and residents in care homes and extra care and supported living services, NHS workers and those working and living in hospices, and prisons and places of detention (including immigration removal centres), where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimise outbreaks. People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes and hospices

Free asymptomatic lateral flow testing will continue from April in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while case numbers remain high. This includes:

  • patient-facing staff in the NHS
  • staff in hospices and adult social care services, such as homecare organisations and care homes
  • a small number of care home visitors who provide personal care
  • staff in some prisons and places of detention and in high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings
  • In residential SEND, care home staff and residents during an outbreak and for care home residents upon admission. This also includes some staff in prisons and immigration removal centres.