Second Redbridge Covid testing centre opens at Gants Hill Library for two-day trial

A second Covid testing centre has opened in Redbridge as the council lobbies for a third.

The borough’s second permanent test centre opens in Gants Hill Library car park today (October 1) and will be open from 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow as a “pilot”.

From October 3 onwards it will be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week and has the capacity to carry out 288 tests a day.

The borough’s first test centre opened in Mildmay Road car park in July, although residents have described struggling to get appointments despite the centre appearing empty.

It is understood that problems accessing coronavirus tests have been caused by limited lab capacity, rather than a lack of capacity at testing centres.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said he was “pleased” by the new centre but added the borough still has “a long way to go”.

He said: “A new permanent test centre is good news for Redbridge, but it’s not enough. We need another test centre in the west of Redbridge.

“We are asking for a third permanent testing centre around Wanstead and Woodford, and another mobile testing unit – so no matter where you live in Redbridge, there is always an accessible test centre nearby.

“Earlier this month, we saw Redbridge residents being turned away from testing centres because the Government was not adequately prepared. That can never happen again.”

He reminded all residents to “play their part” to keep the borough safe by wearing masks, washing their hands, practicing social distancing and getting tested if they have symptoms.

Redbridge currently has the highest infection rate in London, with more than 50 cases per 100,000, meaning the borough should “consider a local lockdown”.

All appointments must be booked in advance by calling 119 or booking online at www.redbridge.gov.uk/gettested

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter