Covid-19 restrictions

We are now moving through the Prime Ministers roadmap out of lockdown. Everyone must stay local and follow the rules, including the rule of six. Remember, shop safe and shop local and stay outside when meeting others – fresh air reduces the risk of passing Covid-19 on.

More information on current restrictions and guidelines is available on the Government website.

Remember, advice around Covid-19 can change, so keep up to date with the latest information.


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Covid-19 testing options

Covid-19 testing options

Covid-19 infections are rising fast in Tower Hamlets and the rest of the country. There is plenty of testing capacity to meet local demand and testing options for both people with symptoms and people without symptoms.

If you have symptoms

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 (a new or continuous cough, a high temperature or a change to/loss in normal sense of smell or taste) should book a test online through the national system or call 119.

Tower Hamlets residents will be offered an appointment at the closest testing site to them. In Tower Hamlets there are local testing sites in  Shadwell and Isle of Dogs.

Idea Store Watney Market

260 Commercial Street

E1 2FB

Jack Dash House

2 Lawn House Close

E14 9YQ

There is also a mobile testing unit near Canary Wharf and other temporary sites. Appointments at all these sites are available through the national system.

If you have no symptoms

One in three people who test positive for coronavirus show no symptoms at all.

We are now offering rapid Covid-19 tests (Lateral Flow Tests) to people who don’t have symptoms of Covid-19 but would still like to get tested.

The tests are quick and convenient and provide results in under 30 minutes.

If you are:

  • a key worker (carers, tradespeople and essential retail)
  • can’t work from home
  • or if others in your household still go out for work

You should take up the offer of free and regular rapid Covid-19 tests, even if you have no symptoms. Quick and regular testing can help protect you and those you live with.

There are five rapid testing sites in Tower Hamlets:

  • 56 Burcham Street, Poplar, E14 0SH. Open 10am to 7pm daily
  • Canary Wharf - level -2, Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5NY. Open 11:00am to 8pm on Thursdays, and 7.30am to 4.30pm on all other days.
  • Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6LS. Open 11am to 8pm daily.
  • Tramshed Community Centre, Digby Street, Bethnal Green, E2 0LP. Open 10am to 7pm daily.

All these sites are walk-in centres but appointments can also be booked online.

We advise taking up free rapid tests twice weekly (with a minimum 3 days between each test). This can help protect individuals and those they live and work with.

Testing positive

From 29 March, anyone testing positive on a rapid lateral flow test will need to take a confirmatory PCR test to confirm the result.

PCR tests are more accurate testing and the types of tests offered to symptomatic people through NHS Test and Trace. You must isolate when testing positive on a rapid lateral flow test until taking the PCR test and continue to isolate if a positive test result is confirmed.

If you perform an asymptomatic lateral flow test yourself at home and test positive, you will still need to complete a confirmatory PCR test. See more information on self-isolating and contact tracing

Everyone can now take rapid tests twice weekly

On the 5 April, the Prime Minister announced that all people in England can access free twice-weekly rapid Covid-19 tests from 9 April 2021

The lateral flow kits can provide results in around 30 minutes and help to protect you and your families and friends by identifying Covid-19 cases earlier and helping to prevent spread.

In Tower Hamlets you can collect two boxes which include seven tests. They are currently available from:

Rapid testing sites

Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, E1 6LS

Burcham Street Community Centre, 56 Burcham Street, E14 0SH

Tramshed Community Centre, Digby Street E2 0LS

PCR testing sites

Watney Market Idea Store, E1 2FB

Jack Dash House, 2 Lawn House Close, E14 9YQ

Community Centres

Aberfeldy Community Centre, Aberfeldy St, Aberfeldy Village, E14 0NU

St Pauls Way Community Centre, 83 St Paul's Way, Mile End, London E3 4AJ

More locations to collect tests will be available soon, including children’s centres, Idea Stores and through the council’s vaccination roadshow.

You do not need an appointment to pick up the rapid tests from any of the above locations.