Rapid coronavirus test kits delivered to Southend mosques in new council initiative

A new Southend Council initiative is underway to ensure diverse communities across the borough have equal access to coronavirus testing facilities.

As part of the scheme, a delivery of 300 boxes containing 2,100 lateral flow (LFD) test kits was made to the Southend Mosque in West Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, to help keep worshipers safe during the holy month of Ramadan.

Test kits will also be distributed to Southend’s two other mosques – The Essex Jamme Masjid Trust on Chelmsford Avenue and Faizane Medina Masjid on Milton Road. Test kits will be replenished when stocks are low.

Imam Iftikhar Ul Haque of the UK Islamic Mission Southend Masjid, said: “These new rapid tests will help identify more people carrying the virus without symptoms and stop the spread of the infection.

“We will be distributing the kits to our congregation throughout Ramadan to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those coming to worship at our mosque.”

Ramadan started on Monday April 12 and lasts for 30 days until May 12. Muslims, who are able to fast, do not eat food or drink liquids from dawn to sunset. This coincides with the easing of lockdown measures and the start of the Community Collect initiative involving pharmacies and libraries across the borough where you can collect free LFD test kits for twice-weekly testing to help identify those with the virus but not displaying any symptoms.

Everyone without symptoms is now eligible for twice weekly LFD testing kits. If not already supplied via your educational institution or workplace testing programme, kits can be ordered online at GOV.UK or collected at community LFD rapid testing sites located at:

  • University Square building, London Road, Southend-on-Sea (entrance opposite Sainsbury’s). Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 7am to 2.30pm
  • Belfairs Methodist Church, Eastwood Rd North, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 4NG. Standard opening hours: Monday 8am-4pm, Wednesday 8am-3:30pm, Tuesday – Sunday 8am-6pm
  • Shoebury Youth Centre, Delaware Road, Shoeburyness, SS3 9NS. Standard opening hours: 7 days a week 8am to 6:30pm

You do not need to book an appointment to pick up a test kit.

LFD testing kits can also be collected from the following libraries:

  • Southchurch library
  • The Forum, Southend-on-Sea
  • Westcliff-on-Sea library
  • Kent Elms library
  • Leigh-on-Sea library

No appointment is necessary and social distancing measures will be in place. If you are unable to collect a kit from one of our local collection points, kits can be ordered via the GOV.UK website. You do not need to book an appointment. Test kits are Free.

You can collect two packs of home test kits. Each pack contains seven tests. You must be over 18 years old to collect home test kit.

Once you have completed your home test, you should report every result (positive, negative or void) to NHS Test and Trace, on the same day you take the test. Report your result online or by phone as indicated on the kit.

Please do not visit one of these test sites if:

  • You have any symptomsof COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • You have had a positive test (LFD or PCR) in the last 90 days
  • You have been in contact with anyone in the last 10 days who has symptoms or tested positive
  • Instead book a PCR test at GOV.UK and continue to self-isolate until you receive the results (more details about PCR tests below).
  • You can also collect LFD testing kits from participating pharmacies which can be found on the interactive map on NHS.UK.

Krishna Ramkhelawon, Southend’s Director of Public Health, said: “We understand that not everyone has the means or time to visit a testing centre on a regular basis but testing really is vital in stopping the spread of the virus. That is why we have introduced self-testing collection points across the borough, making it easier than ever for residents to introduce testing into their weekly routine.

“As restrictions ease and people start to meet up with others outdoors, the need for people who aren’t showing symptoms to take part in regular testing is more vital than ever.

“If regular testing is not something you have considered previously and you are not already accessing self-tests in another way, I urge you to order a home test or pick up test kits from your nearest community test site or participating pharmacy and library, complete them regularly and help to keep your friends and family safe and ensure we can continue to keep our local businesses open and safe.”

Reintroduction of confirmatory PCR

Following January’s temporary suspension, Public Health England (PHE) has decided to reintroduce routine confirmatory PCR tests following all positive rapid flow tests (LFD) results, regardless of whether the test is taken at a testing centre or at home. The test is carried out exactly the same, but the way the results are analysed is different.

This change started from March 30, 2021.

The reintroduction of confirmatory PCR will hopefully reduce the number of people self-isolating unnecessarily, and enable the sequencing of positive PCR samples of the virus to identify any new variants.

For LFDs undertaken under supervised conditions, a positive LFD result will trigger the legal duty to self-isolate and initiate contact tracing. If a negative confirmatory PCR is obtained within 2 days of the positive LFD test result, the individual will be released from self-isolation and tracing. If the confirmatory PCR test is taken too late, the individual who got a positive LFD (and their household) will need to self-isolate for the full 10 days.

For LFDs undertaken at home, the legal obligation will only commence once a positive PCR test is confirmed but anyone who has received a positive LFD result should still self-isolate (along with members of their household) as soon as they get the positive LFD.

You can now also get a PCR test if you have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms.

Read more at GOV.UK.


Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]