Team Lopez: We know many constituents are worried about the capacity for testing in Havering.
Free and accessible testing is a cornerstone of the new NHS Test and Trace service, which is working to stop the spread of coronavirus in local communities and to support the lifting of restrictions so people can see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in jobs. The NHS Test and Trace service have processed more than 21 million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began and contacted and identified 339,438 people as recent close contacts since the service began on 28 May 2020.
The Minister for Innovation, Lord Bethell, sent the attached letter on 18 September confirming the opening of a Local Test Site at Dagnam Park Drive in Harold Hill. This site will make it easier for many people across the borough to access testing.
This site forms part of a pilot to open new ‘walk through’ Local Test Sites which are easily accessible by foot or by bike. The new site complements the regional drive through testing network across the UK and home testing which can both be booked through the government’s online portal. Constituents may also be aware of mobile testing units which are travelling the country, responding to increased regional demand for testing, and supporting hard to reach areas.
The government has engaged with the local authority and NHS stakeholders to select this site in Harold Hill. This expansion of testing supports the existing NHS and Public Health England infrastructure, which has more than doubled its testing capacity since the coronavirus pandemic began, supporting the government’s commitment to expand local direction of national testing resources and move to a more locally owned and delivered testing model.
Across the UK testing capacity has been expanded to more than 350,000 tests a day, meaning that anyone with symptoms can immediately book a test for free. Local authorities in England will have greater autonomy to deliver different types of testing models which are suited to the needs of their population and local communities.
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test immediately at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
In England, anyone testing positive will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, to help them trace their recent contacts and further control the spread of the virus.