- Access to coronavirus testing increased further with six new ‘walk through’ local testing sites in England offering appointments to people without cars
- The number of mobile testing units will double to 236 by the end of July and new priority postboxes for testing kits created
- Health Secretary calls on everyone across the country with symptoms to get their free test, and help stop the spread of the virus
How To Book a Test
Everyone with symptoms can book or order a free test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Essential workers and members of their households can access priority testing on GOV.UK.
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 has identified 113,925 people as recent close contacts since the service began on 28 May 2020.
The new walk-through sites will bring testing to the heart of communities, by focusing on offering appointments to people without cars who can safely travel on foot, without coming into contact with others. These sites will continue to be expanded where there is demand from local communities and will provide a convenient option, close to where people live and work.
Home testing kits can now be returned without booking a courier service, allowing those choosing this testing option to post their testing kits at any of the 30,000 Royal Mail priority postboxes across the UK, which will all be marked by a regionalised NHS logo by 3 July.
In addition to this, 30 additional mobile testing units are now travelling the UK, responding to increased regional demand for testing, and supporting hard to reach areas. Mobile testing enables temporary testing sites to be set up quickly to serve communities on a rolling basis and target specific demand. This brings the total of mobile units to 147, currently staffed by military personnel in England, Scotland and Wales and by civilian staff in Northern Ireland. This number will further increase to 236 across the United Kingdom by the end of July.
Across the UK testing capacity has been expanded to more than 200,000 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 your sense of smell or taste – should book a test immediately.
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.
In addition to the 68 drive-through regional testing sites across the UK, there are now 6 walk-through local testing sites in Newcastle, Rochdale, Leeds, Brent, Newham and Slough offering appointments to people without cars, and with Slough being the first hybrid drive and walk-through site.
A home test user can check where their nearest priority postbox is. A process of marking all priority postboxes with stickers has also begun across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Anyone who receives a home testing kit will also receive instructions about how to return the kit safely, including wiping down the box with an antiseptic wipe, following social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask when posting the kit.
Anyone who is shielding, vulnerable or too unwell to leave the home can still use the courier service or call the customer contact centre for further help.