Get tested for COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19 helps to identify when someone has the virus and needs to self-isolate. By self-isolating, the spreading of the virus can be much reduced. Testing is important no matter whether you have had one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or none.
Everyone in England is being encouraged to undertake twice weekly free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. Rapid COVID-19 tests are available for anyone who does not have symptoms of Coronavirus. All lateral flow tests are free with results available in 45 minutes.
Rapid testing is important because it helps identify people with COVID-19 who aren’t showing any symptoms but are still infectious, to help prevent further spread of the virus. Around one in three people with Coronavirus have no symptoms and may be spreading it without realising.
If you do not already access rapid testing through an educational setting, or workplace, there are a number of ways you can access rapid tests:
- By ordering home testing kits to your home
- By collecting home testing kits from a collection point, such as a pharmacy, community centre or testing centre. Use the NHS COVID-19 Test and Vaccination Site Finder tool, or see “Get tests to do at home” below.
- By booking a test appointment locally – see “Book a test appointment” below
Get tests to do at home
Order a free COVID-19 test on the NHS website or call 119.
If you are unable to order a test, or test at your place of work or study you can collect rapid test kits from 65a Basinghall Street. There is no need to book to collect your kits. If you develop coronavirus symptoms, a Lateral Flow Test will not be suitable. If you are due to have a Lateral Flow Test and develop symptoms you must not attend the centre.
The testing site at Guildhall Yard (between 2.30 and 8pm) is handing out rapid home testing kits. There is no need to book to collect your kits from Guildhall Yard.
Get tests for your employees
Testing is key to keeping your workforce and customers safe and healthy, as well as minimising business disruption. City workers are able to access any of the testing options listed above. Alternatively, they should be encouraged to access rapid testing near to where they live, by using the NHS COVID-19 Test and Vaccination Site Finder tool.
City businesses are able to collect free rapid home testing kits for their staff from 65a Basinghall Street – Monday to Friday, 2-5pm.
Book a test appointment
If you require a rapid test appointment, you can be tested at 65a Basinghall Street, you will need to book an appointment. Basinghall Street is open 7.30am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you are unable to make an appointment for 65a Basinghall Street, there are other testing sites in Hackney.
What to do with your result
Follow the guidance in the testing kit or given to you at a centre.
If you receive a negative test result, please remember to keep following the rules: wash your hands often, wear a face covering, practise social distancing and stay outdoors when meeting others outside your household/support bubble.
If you test positive from any lateral flow (rapid) test you must self-isolate and arrange to have a PCR test to confirm the result. You can book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or by calling 119.
If you know you are going to be tested, before you leave home consider how you will travel back home in a way that protects others should you test positive.
If you have concerns about travelling back from the testing venue safely should you test positive, arrange a home test if available, or discuss this in advance with your employer and arrange to attend a community test centre near your home. If you are an essential worker, you can use the self-referral portal for testing essential workers.
If you are a student and have concerns about travel arrangements should you test positive, you should discuss this with your college or university.
Queries about rapid testing kits
If you have any queries about the rapid testing kits, including the safe use of ethylene oxide in sterilising test swabs, read this Government guidance for more details.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate immediately, even before you take a test and receive a result. You must not attend medical appointments, other than to get a PCR test.
- a new, continuous cough and/or
- a high temperature and/or
- a loss or change in normal sense of smell or taste
Arrange a free test online or call the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre on 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm. The service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 119 (in England and Wales).
Please note that the Call Centre cannot provide clinical advice. If you are concerned about your health and wellbeing following your test result, or if your condition gets worse, or does not get better after seven days, use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service or call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
The testing centre, for people with symptoms of Coronavirus, is located in Guildhall Yard (EC2V 5AA), and is open seven days a week, 8am-1.30pm.
There are further testing sites in Hackney that you may be directed to.
If possible, walk, cycle or drive in a private vehicle alone to the test site.
If driving, you should travel by yourself or, if necessary, only with people from your household or support bubble. Follow the guidance on car-sharing.
If you need to use public transport to travel to the test site, you should travel alone or, if necessary, only with people from your household or support bubble. Try to avoid travelling on busy routes or during busy periods, such as rush hour. Follow guidance to keep yourself, other passengers and public transport staff safe.
If you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you may be alerted by NHS Test and Trace. You and others in your household/support bubble will need to self-isolate, following Government guidance about household isolation. Information on isolation periods can be found on the NHS website. You will need to book a test if you develop symptoms.
The new NHS COVID-19 app is the official NHS contact tracing app for England and Wales. It is the fastest way of knowing when you’re at risk from Coronavirus. The quicker you know, the quicker you can alert your loved ones, and your community. The more of us that use it, the better we can control Coronavirus. Visit the NHS COVID-19 app web page to download now.
You can access Government information on Test and Trace in other languages. You can also access guidance if you have had contact with people with confirmed COVID-19 infection that you don't live with (this is also available in other languages).