All Greenwich borough residents without symptoms are being asked to get a rapid Covid-19 test over the next five weeks as part of a mass testing programme.
Case levels have been coming down steadily over recent weeks, but the rapid testing programme follows the reopening of schools on Monday and later tests will also follow the easing of some lockdown restrictions on 29 March, which will see the “stay at home” rule end. The aim is to find people who could be spreading the virus but do not know they have it, with results coming back within 30 minutes.
In the seven days to Thursday, just under 40 people in every 100,000 had Covid-19 in Greenwich borough, the lowest rate since the start of October. Localised data from Public Health England shows higher rates in the north of the borough. Rates are lower in Greenwich’s neighbouring boroughs in southeast London – in Bexley, the rate is 28.6, in Lewisham, the rate is 21.6.
The borough is being divided up into five areas, based on council wards, with those in the south – around Eltham, Mottingham and New Eltham – asked to get tests in the week starting on Monday.
The process ends in mid-April, with people in Greenwich, Woolwich and Shooters Hill being asked to book tests then.
People with coronavirus symptoms should book a test through gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 as normal.
It is the second time that everybody in the borough has been encouraged to get a rapid test; the first time came over Christmas as the second wave of the virus took hold in London. This time, there will be testing points in locations across the borough.
Rapid tests remain available for key workers and people who cannot work from home in Greenwich, Charlton, Eltham, Thamesmead and Woolwich and can be booked on the council website.
Elsewhere in southeast London, Lewisham residents can get tests in Catford, Deptford, Downham and Sydenham, while a handful of pharmacies in Bexley have just started offering the tests.
On Wednesday, councillors heard that over 72,000 people in Greenwich borough have now been given a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Over-55s, frontline health and care workers, people with learning disabilities, those at high risk and those who care for them can now book their jabs online.
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