Local testing sites prepare to close at end of the month
21 March 2022
In line with government plans to end free-universal testing for COVID-19, testing sites across the borough have begun their preparations to close at the end of March.
Last month the government announced changes to legislation and policy outlining how we will 'live with COVID' in the future. As part of the changes, from 1 April, the Government will no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.
Currently there are three symptomatic testing centres in Richmond upon Thames:
- St Mary’s University Broom Road sports campus in Teddington (to close on 30 March)
- Bramble Lane in Hampton, adjacent to the White House Community Centre (to close on 30 March)
- Old Deer Park MTU in Richmond, next to Pools on the Park (to close on 30 March)
All of these testing centres will be closed for both pre-booked appointments and walk-in appointments. The centres will be dismantled and removed over the next few months, as part of a wider programme across England.
In addition, residents are reminded that whilst there are limited stocks of free lateral flow tests (for asymptomatic testing) available online and in some local pharmacies and East Sheen, Hampton, Twickenham and Whitton libraries, they will only be available till 31 March.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, reminds people that despite this, COVID-19 is still very much with us. He said:
“I am concerned that free-universal testing will cease at the end of March. COVID-19 rates have been increasing across Richmond over the past few weeks since the compulsory measures were removed.
“Whilst we know there will be a paid-for testing service post March, we are still waiting for official guidance as to where people will be able to buy them from and the reassurance that those people who are struggling financially will still be able to access testing.
“One thing is really clear – COVID-19 has not gone away. We all need to continue to take appropriate measures to keep ourselves and our communities safe such as wearing a face covering when in an enclosed space or on public transport, washing our hands regularly, and opening a window to enable ventilation if meeting with others indoors.
“I want to reassure residents that we have not forgotten about COVID-19. Should there be a need for us to step up our efforts and support due to major outbreaks, steep increase in case numbers or hospitalisations in the future, we have plans in place to ensure we are ready to do so.”
Up to: March 2022
Updated: 21 March 2022