Rapid community Covid-19 testing for residents with no symptoms is to begin in Bexley on Monday (January 11) as the borough struggles as one of the county's Covid hotspots.

The community testing initiative marks the start of rapid asymptomatic coronavirus testing in Bexley in response to the rampaging infection rates in the borough, currently at over 1,000 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

The city centre site will, along with the mobile unit outside Specsavers on the Broadway announced last week, aim to test anyone who does not actually have symptoms of Covid-19, but is at an increased risk of the virus.

The new tests will be offered via a booking service at the Civic Offices on Watling Street, open initially from 9am to 5pm from January 11.

Bexley Council leader Teresa O'Neill OBE said: “This is another big step forward for Bexley in the fight against Covid.

"Our immediate priority has been to test as much as possible. This new rapid testing centre for people with no symptoms, will run alongside the three other testing sites located throughout the Borough and the mobile testing units that we have, all of which will help us slow the spread of the virus.

“At the same time, we are working with our NHS colleagues to make sure the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccines are available as soon as possible to those who are most vulnerable and at risk.”

The council that anyone who does not have symptoms but who is at increased risk can be tested using rapid turnaround tests which provide results within an hour.

This includes people who have a household contact with symptoms or a household contact who has tested positive, or people who work in a public facing capacity in the public, private or voluntary sector, as well as front line workers (encouraged to get tested twice weekly).

Tests must be booked in advance and you must book a separate appointment for each member of your household that needs a test. Tests are open to anyone over 11 years.

You must check in when you arrive at the test centre at Civic Offices, and council staff will give you a barcode to register and explain how to do this. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Around one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it.

"Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

“I’m delighted that London Borough of Bexley are working with us to roll out community testing in their borough, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

The free no symptoms rapid tests are quick to take and the results will be text or emailed to you within one hour. If you test positive you will need to isolate immediately for 10 days and book a confirmatory laboratory covid-19 test.

Do not book a no symptoms rapid test if you have any of the following symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. You should instead book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.