Avery Hill Mansion site
The walk-in coronavirus testing centre will open on 13 October

Greenwich Council has confirmed that a walk-in coronavirus testing centre will open at the University of Greenwich campus at Avery Hill next Tuesday.

People with Covid-19 symptoms who want to use the centre will have to book via gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test – they will not be able to just turn up and get tested.

The centre’s opening will follow similar walk-in centres opening in neighbouring boroughs: Lewisham has had a centre in Deptford for a month, while Bexley opened a centre in Bexleyheath last week. Drive-in tests have been available in North Greenwich station car park for several months; while a centre has also been open for three days per week behind Lewisham Council’s offices in Catford. All need to be booked in advance.

For many Greenwich borough residents, the Deptford centre will be more convenient.

The news was announced in a weekly email from Greenwich Council. “We recognise that you may have concerns about traffic, parking and safety issues,” said leader Danny Thorpe. “Please be assured that everyone who attends the testing centre will be instructed to be on foot, not travel by taxi or public transport and follow social distancing guidelines. This will be supported by clear signage in and around the testing centre.”

Greenwich’s plans to host a testing centre were brought up last week at a council scrutiny meeting, where the borough’s director of public health, Steve Whiteman, said that the availability of tests was starting to improve in London after resources had been diverted to other parts of England.

Last month, councillors called for the Serco and Deloitte test-and-trace system, which is run by the Conservative peer Baroness Harding, to be given to town halls instead after residents found themselves being asked to travel hundreds of miles for coronavirus tests.

Yesterday, the recorded rate of coronavirus cases in Greenwich reached 53 per 100,000 people in the week to 5 October. In both Bexley and Bromley the figure is 56, in Lewisham the figure is 61. The average in England is 68; London’s highest figure came in Richmond-upon-Thames (112). The Merseyside borough of Knowsley recorded the highest figure in the country at 601, with Liverpool on 579.

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